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Title: Daybreak; A Romance of an Old World
Author: Cowan, James
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 "Daybreak; A Romance of an Old World" ***

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Robert Laporte, Steen Christensen and the Online Distributed



By James Cowan

[Illustration: “HE MADE THE STARS ALSO”]














































It was an evening in early autumn in the last year of the nineteenth
century. We were nearing the close of a voyage as calm and peaceful as
our previous lives.

Margaret had been in Europe a couple of years and I had just been over
to bring her home, and we were now expecting to reach New York in a day
or two.

Margaret and I were the best of friends. Indeed, we had loved each other
from our earliest recollection. No formal words of betrothal had ever
passed between us, but for years we had spoken of our future marriage as
naturally as if we were the most regularly engaged couple in the world.

“Walter,” asked Margaret in her impulsive way, “at what temperature does
mercury melt?”

“Well, to hazard a guess,” I replied, “I should say about one degree
above its freezing point. Why, do you think of making an experiment?”

“Yes, on you. And I am going to begin by being very frank with you. You
have made me a number of hurried visits during my stay in Europe, but we
have seen more of each other in the course of this voyage than for two
long years. I trust you will not be offended when I say I hoped to find
you changed. I have never spoken to you about this, even in my letters,
and it is only because I am a little older now, and because my love for
you has increased with every day of life, that I have the courage to
frame these words.”

“Do tell me what it is,” I exclaimed, thoroughly alarmed at her serious
manner. “Let me know how I have disappointed you and I will make what
amends I can. Tell me the nature of the change you have been looking for
and I will begin the transformation at once, before my character becomes

“Alas! and if it should be already fixed,” she replied, without a smile.
“Perhaps it is unreasonable in me to expect it in you as a man, when you
had so little of it as a boy; but I used to think it was only shyness
then, and always hoped you would outgrow that and gradually become an
ideal lover. You have such a multitude of other perfections, however,
that it may be nature has denied you this so that I may be reminded that
you are human. If the choice had been left with me I think I should
have preferred to leave out some other quality in the make-up of your
character, good as they all are.”

“What bitter pill is this,” I asked, “that you are sugar-coating to such
an extent? Don’t you see that I am aching to begin the improvement in my
manners, as soon as you point out the direction?”

“You must know what I mean from my first abrupt question,” she answered.
“To make an extreme comparison, frozen mercury is warm beside you,
Walter. If you are really to be loyal knight of mine I must send you on
a quest for your heart.”

“Ah, I supposed it was understood that I had given it to you.”

“I have never seen it,” she continued, “and you have never before said
as much as is contained in those last words. Here we are, talking of
many things we shall do after we are married, and yet you have nothing
to say of all that wonderful and beautiful world of romance that ought
to come before marriage. Is this voyage to come to an end and mean no
more to us than to these hundreds of passengers around us, who seem only
intent to get back to their work at the earliest possible moment? And is
our wedding day to approach and pass and be looked upon merely as part
of the necessary and becoming business of our lives? In short, am I
never to hear a real love note?”

“Margaret, I have a sister. You know something of the depth of my
affection for her. When I meet her in New York to-morrow or next day,
if I should throw my arms around her neck and exclaim, in impassioned
tones, ‘My sister, I love you,’ what would she think of me?”

“She would think you had left your senses on the other side,” replied
Margaret, laughing. “But I decline to accept the parallel. I have not
given up my heart to your keeping these many years to be only a sister
to you at last.”

“But my mother! Is it possible for me to love you more than my mother
loved me? And yet I never heard her speak one word on the subject, and,
now that I think of it, I am not sure but words would have cheapened her
affection in my mind. You do not doubt me, Margaret?”

“No more than you doubted your mother, although she never told her
love. No, it is not so serious as that; but I wish you were more
demonstrative, Walter.”

“What, in words? Isn’t there something that speaks louder than words?”

“Yes, but let us hear the words, too. There is a beautiful proverb in
India which says, ‘Words are the daughters of earth and deeds are the
sons of heaven.’ That is true, but let us not try to pass through life
without enjoying the company of some of the ‘daughters of earth.’”

“I will confess this much, Margaret, that your words are one of your
principal charms.”

“Oh, do you really think so? I consider that a great compliment from
you, for I have often tried to repress myself, fearing that my impulsive
and sometimes passionate speech would offend your taste, you who are
outwardly so cold. Do you know, I have a whole vocabulary of endearing
terms ready to be poured into your ears as soon as you begin to give me

“Then teach me how to encourage you, and I will certainly begin at once.
Shall we seek some retired spot, where we can be free from observation,
and then shall I seize your hand, fall on my knees, and, in vehement and
extravagant words, declare a passion which you already know I have, just
as well as you know I am breathing at this moment?”

“Good!” cried Margaret. “That’s almost as fine as the real scene. So you
have a passion for me. I really think you are improving.”

Before going on with this conversation, let me tell you a little more
about Margaret and my relations to her.

There was good cause for her complaint. I was at that time a sort
of animated icicle, as far as my emotional nature was concerned. But
although I could not express my feelings to Margaret in set phrase, I do
not mind saying to you that I loved her dearly, or thought I did, which
was the same thing for the time being. I loved her as well as I was
capable of loving anybody. What I lacked Margaret more than made up, for
she was the warmest-hearted creature in all the world. If I should begin
to enumerate her perfections of person and character I should never care
to stop.

Her educational advantages had been far above the average, and she had
improved them in a manner to gratify her friends and create for herself
abundant mental resources. She had taken the full classical course at
Harvard, carrying off several of the high prizes, had then enjoyed two
years of post-graduate work at Clark, and finally spent two more years
in foreign travel and study. As has been intimated, I had been over for
her, and we were now on our way home, expecting to land on the morrow or
the day after.

If you imagine that Margaret had lost anything by her education or
was less fitted to make a good home, it is because you never knew
her. Instead of being stunted in her growth, broken in constitution,
round-shouldered, pale-faced and weak-eyed, the development of her body
had kept pace with the expansion of her mind, and she was now in the
perfect flower of young womanhood, with body and soul both of generous
mold. Her marvelous beauty had been refined and heightened by her
intellectual culture, and even her manners, so charming before, were
now more than ever the chaste and well-ordered adornments of a noble
character. She was as vivacious and sparkling as if she had never
known the restraints of school, but without extravagance of any kind to
detract from her self-poise. In short, she was a symphony, a grand and
harmonious composition, and still human enough to love a mortal like me.
Such was the woman who was trying to instill into my wooing a little of
the warmth and sympathy of her delightful nature. As for myself, it will
be necessary to mention only a single characteristic. I had a remarkably
good ear, as we say. Not only was my sense of hearing unusually acute,
but I had an almost abnormal appreciation of musical sounds. Although
without the ability to sing or play and without the habit of application
necessary to learn these accomplishments, I was, from my earliest years,
a great lover of music. People who are born without the power of nicely
discriminating between sounds often say they enjoy music, but these
excellent people do not begin to understand the intense pleasure with
which one listens, whose auricular nerves are more highly developed. But
this rare and soul-stirring enjoyment is many times accompanied, as in
my case, with acute suffering whenever the tympanum is made to resound
with the slightest discord. The most painful moments of my life,
physically speaking, have been those in which I have been forced to
listen to diabolical noises. A harsh, rasping sound has often given me a
pang more severe than neuralgia, while even an uncultivated voice or an
instrument out of tune has jarred on my sensitive nerves for hours.

My musical friends all hated me in their hearts, for my peculiarity made
me a merciless critic; and the most serious youthful quarrel between
Margaret and myself arose from the same cause. Nature had given Margaret
a voice of rare sweetness and a fine musical taste, and her friends
had encouraged her in singing from her youth. One day, before she had
received much instruction, she innocently asked me to listen to a song
she was studying, when I was cruel enough to laugh at her and ridicule
the idea of her ever learning to sing correctly. This rudeness made such
an impression on her girlish mind that, although she forgave the offense
and continued to love the offender, she could never be induced again to
try her vocal powers before me. All through her school and college days
she devoted some attention to music, and while I heard from others much
about her advancement and the extraordinary quality of her voice, she
always declared she would never sing for me until she was sure she could
put me to shame for my early indiscretion, so painfully present in her
memory. This became in time quite a feature of our long courtship, for
I was constantly trying to have her break her foolish resolution and
let me hear her. Although unsuccessful, the situation was not without a
pleasurable interest for me, for I knew it must end some time, and in
a way, no doubt, to give me great enjoyment, judging from the accounts
which came to my ears. Margaret, too, was well satisfied to let the
affair drift along indefinitely, while she anticipated with delight the
surprise she was preparing for me.

During the years she had just been spending abroad a good share of her
time had been given to her musical studies, principally vocal culture,
and in her letters she provokingly quoted, for my consideration, the
flattering comments of her instructors and other acquaintances. She
did this as part of my punishment, trying to make me realize how much
pleasure I was losing. Each time I crossed the ocean to visit her I
expected she would relent, but I was as often disappointed; and now this
homeward voyage had almost come to an end, and I had never heard her
voice in song since she was a child. Open and unreserved as she was by
nature, in this particular she had schooled herself to be as reticent
and undemonstrative as she accused me of being.

Our talk on the subject of my shortcomings, that evening on shipboard,
had not continued much longer before I acknowledged in plain language
that I knew my fault and was ready to cooperate in any scheme that could
be suggested to cure it.

“What you need,” said Margaret, “is some violent sensation, some
extraordinary experience to stir your soul.”

“Yes,” I answered, “my humdrum life, my wealth, which came to me without
any effort of my own, and the hitherto almost unruffled character of my
relations with you have all conspired to make me satisfied with an easy
and rather indolent existence. I realize I need a shaking up. I want
to forget myself in some novel experience, which shall engross all my
attention for a time and draw upon my sympathies if I have any.”

“But what can one do in ‘this weak piping time of peace’? There are no
maidens to be rescued from the enchantments of the wizard, and it is no
longer the fashion to ride forth with sword and halberd to murder in the
name of honor all who oppose themselves. No more dark continents wait
to be explored, neither is there novelty left in searching the ocean’s
depths nor in sailing the sky above us. Civilized warfare itself, the
only field remaining where undying fame may be purchased, seems likely
to lose its hold on men, and soon the arbitrator will everywhere replace
the commander-in-chief and the noble art of war will degenerate into the
ignoble lawsuit. So even universal peace may have its drawbacks.”

“That is quite sufficient in that line,” said Margaret. “Now let us come
down to something practicable.”

“Well, I might bribe the pilot to sink the steamer when we are going up
the bay, so that I could have the opportunity of saving your life.”

“It would be almost worth the trial if it were not for the other
people,” she returned. “Such a role would become you immensely.”

“I regret that I cannot accommodate you,” I said. “But I have thought
of something which would be rather safer for you. How would you like to
have me fall desperately in love with some pretty girl?”

“Just the thing,” exclaimed Margaret, laughing and clapping her hands,
“if you can only be sure she will not return your passion.”

“Small chance of that,” I answered. “So you approve the plan, do you?”

“Certainly, if you care to try it. Lady never held knight against his
will. But have you forgotten that, after the resources of this planet
are exhausted, as you seem to think they are soon likely to be, you
and I have other worlds to conquer? Perhaps in that work you may find
diversion powerful enough to draw you out of yourself and, possibly,
opportunities for some heart culture.”

I must explain that this was a reference to a plan of life we were
marking out for ourselves. Margaret was an enthusiast on the subject
of astronomy. I would include myself in the same remark, only the word
enthusiast did not fit my temperament at that time. But our tastes
agreed perfectly in that matter, and we had always read with avidity
everything we could find on the subject. Margaret, however, was the
student, and as she had developed great proficiency in mathematics, she
had decided to make astronomy her profession.

It was understood that I was to perform the easier part of furnishing
the money for an observatory and instruments of our own, and I was
determined to keep pace with Margaret in her studies as well as I could
in an amateurish way, so that she might be able to retain me as an
assistant. We were to be married at sunrise sharp, on the first day of
the next century, and to lay the corner-stone of our observatory at
the exact moment of the summer solstice of the same year. These were
Margaret’s suggestions, but even I was not averse to letting my friends
see I had a little sentiment.

That night I dreamed of almost everything we had been talking about, but
lay awake at intervals, wondering if I could, by force of will, work out
the reform in my character which Margaret desired. The night passed,
and it was just as I was rising that a thought flashed upon me which
I determined to put into execution at the first opportunity. This came
early the next evening. As we expected to reach our wharf soon, we had
finished our packing, and were now sitting alone in a retired spot on
deck on the starboard side. As soon as we were comfortably arranged I
said to my companion:

“Margaret, as this is the last evening of this voyage, it makes an epoch
in our lives. Your school days are now over, and henceforth we hope
to be together. Would not this be a most appropriate time for me to be
introduced to a voice with which I propose to spend the rest of my life?
Last night you were anxious to think of something which would arouse my
dormant heart and draw out in more passionate expression my too obscure
affections. Your words haunted my sleeping and waking thoughts until
it fortunately occurred to me that you yourself had the very means for
accomplishing my reformation. You know how impressionable I am to every
wave of sound. Who knows but your voice, which I am sure will be the
sweetest in the world to me, may be the instrument destined to stir
my drowsy soul, to loose my halting tongue, and even to force my proud
knees to bend before you? In short, why not adopt my suggestion, break
your long-kept resolution, and sing for me this moment? Is the possible
result not worth the trial?” To this long address, which was a great
effort for me, Margaret answered:

“You surprise me already, Walter. If the mere thought of hearing me sing
can prompt such a sentimental speech as that, what would the song itself
do? Perhaps it would drive you to the other extreme, and you would
become gushing. Just think of that. But, seriously, I am afraid you
would laugh at my voice and send me back to Germany. When you were
talking I thought I could detect an undercurrent of fun in your words.”

“I assure you I was never more in earnest in my life, and I am sorry you
will not sing. Is your answer final?”

“I think I will wait a little longer. We are liable to be disturbed
here. And now that you have made a start, perhaps you will improve in
manners becoming a lover without any more help.”

“No, I shall relapse and be worse than ever. Now is your time to help me
find my heart.”

Without answering, Margaret sprang up impulsively, exclaiming:

“There! I have forgotten that book the professor borrowed. Men never
return anything. I must go and get it, and put it into my bag. And I had
better run down and see if auntie wants anything. You stay right here;
don’t move, and I’ll be back in just three minutes.”



I promised, and then settled myself more comfortably into my steamer
chair to await Margaret’s return. The three minutes passed, and she did
not come. Evidently it was hard to find the professor, or perhaps he
was holding her, against her will, for a discussion of the book. At any
rate, I could do nothing but sit there, in that easy, half-reclining
position, and watch the full moon, which had just risen, and was shining
square in my face, if that could be said of an object that looked so

I fell into a deep reverie. My mind was filled with contending emotions,
and such opposing objects as rolling worlds and lovely maidens flitted
in dim images across my mental vision. I loved the best woman on the
earth, and I wondered if any of those other globes contained her equal.
If so, then perhaps some other man was as fortunate as myself. I was
drowsy, but determined to keep awake and pursue this fancy. I remember
feeling confident that I could not sleep if I only kept my eyes open,
and so I said I would keep them fixed on the bright face of the moon.
But how large it looked. Surely something must be wrong with it, or was
it my memory that was at fault? I thought the moon generally appeared
smaller as it rose further above the horizon, but now it was growing
bigger every minute. It was coming nearer, too. Nearer, larger--why, it
was monstrous. I could not turn my eyes away now, and everything else
was forgotten, swallowed up in that one awful sight. How fast it grew.
Now it fills half the sky and makes me tremble with fear. Part of it is
still lighted by the sun, and part is in dark, threatening shadow. I
see pale faces around me. Others are gazing, awe-stricken, at the same
object. We are in the open street, and some have glasses, peering into
the deep craters and caverns of the surface.

I seemed to be a new-comer on the scene, and could not help remarking to
my nearest neighbor:

“This is a strange sight. Do you think it is real, or are we all bereft
of our senses?”

“Strange indeed, but true,” he answered.

“But what does it mean?” And then, assuming a gayety I did not feel,
I asked further: “Does the moon, too, want to be annexed to the United

“You speak lightly, young man,” my neighbor said, “and do not appear to
realize the seriousness of our situation. Where have you been, that you
have not heard this matter discussed, and do not understand that the
moon is certain to come into collision with the earth in a very short

He seemed thoroughly alarmed, and I soon found that all the people
shared his feeling. The movement of the earth carried us out of sight
of the moon in a few hours, but after a brief rest everybody was on the
watch again at the next revolution. The excitement over the behavior of
our once despised moon increased rapidly from this time. Nothing else
was talked of, business was well-nigh suspended, and the newspapers
neglected everything else to tell about the unparalleled natural
phenomenon. Speculation was rife as to what would be the end, and what
effect would follow a union of the earth with its satellite.

While this discussion was going on, the unwelcome visitor was
approaching with noticeable rapidity at every revolution of the earth,
and the immense dark shadow which it now made, as it passed beneath the
sun, seemed ominous of an ill fate to our world and its inhabitants. It
was a time to try the stoutest hearts, and, of course, the multitude of
the people were overwhelmed with alarm. As no one could do anything to
ward off what seemed a certain catastrophe, the situation was all the
more dreadful. Men could only watch the monster, speculate as to the
result, and wait, with horrible suspense, for the inevitable. The circle
of revolution was now becoming so small that the crisis was hourly
expected. Men everywhere left their houses and sought the shelterless
fields, and it was well they did so, for there came a day when the earth
received a sudden and awful shock. After it had passed, people looked
at each other wonderingly to find themselves alive, and began
congratulating each other, thinking the worst was over. But the dreadful
anxiety returned when, after some hours, the moon again appeared, a
little tardy this time, but nearer and more threatening than ever. The
news was afterwards brought that it had struck the high mountain peaks
of Central Asia, tearing down their sides with the power of a thousand
glaciers and filling the valleys below with ruin.

It was now felt that the end must soon come, and this was true, for at
the earth’s very next revolution the tired and feeble satellite, once
the queen of the sky and the poet’s glory, scraped across the continent
of South America, received the death blow in collision with the Andes,
careened, and fell at last into the South Pacific Ocean. The shock given
to the earth was tremendous, but no other result was manifest except
that the huge mass displaced water enough to submerge many islands and
to reconstruct the shore lines of every continent. There was untold loss
of life and property, of course, but it is astonishing how easily those
who were left alive accepted the new state of things, when it was found
that the staid earth, in spite of the enormous wart on her side, was
making her daily revolution almost with her accustomed regularity.

The lovers of science, however, were by no means indifferent to
the new-comer. To be able at last to solve all the problems of the
constitution and geography of the moon was enough to fill them with the
greatest enthusiasm. But, while thousands were ready to investigate
the mysterious visitor, one great difficulty stood in the way of all
progress. It seemed impossible to get a foothold on the surface. The
great globe rose from the waves on all sides at such an angle on account
of its shape that a lodgment could not easily be made. Ships sailed
under the overhanging sides, and in a calm sea they would send out their
boats, which approached near enough to secure huge specimens. These were
broken into fragments and were soon sold on the streets of every city.

The first to really set foot on the dead satellite were some adventurous
advertisers, who shot an arrow and cord over a projecting crag, pulled a
rope after it, and finally drew themselves up, and soon the lunar cliffs
were put to some practical use, blazoning forth a few staring words.
These men could not go beyond their narrow standing place, for the
general curve of the surface, although broken up by many irregularities,
presented no opportunities for the most skillful climbing.

But it was impossible that, with the moon so near, the problem of
reaching it could long remain unsolved. Dr. Schwartz, an eminent
scientist, was the first to suggest that it must be approached in a
balloon, and at the same time he announced that he would be one of two
men, if another could be found, to undertake to effect a landing in that
way. Here, I saw, was my opportunity. I had often dreamed of visiting
the moon and other heavenly bodies, and now here was a chance to go
in reality. I had some acquaintance with Dr. Schwartz, and my prompt
application for the vacant place in the proposed expedition was
successful. The doctor kindly wrote me that my enthusiasm in the cause
was just what he was looking for, and he was sure I would prove a plucky
and reliable companion. The matter attracted so much attention that the
United States Government, moved to action by the public nature of
the enterprise, took it up and offered to bear all the expense of
the equipment and carrying out of the expedition. Encouraged by this
assistance, the doctor began his plans at once. All recognized that one
great object was to settle the question as to the existence of life on
the other side of the moon; for, in spite of its rude collisions with
mountains and continents before it rested as near the heart of the earth
as it could get, it had insisted, with an almost knowing perversity, in
keeping its old, familiar face next to us. To solve this problem might
take much time, and so we determined to go so well prepared that, if we
once reached the upper surface of the moon, we could stay as long as our
errand demanded.

It was decided to make the ascent from a town near the coast of the
southern part of Chile, and thither we went with our balloon, some
scientific apparatus, and a large quantity of dried provisions. We
took with us also papers from the State Department showing that we were
accredited agents from our Government to the inhabitants of the moon, if
we should find any. Our arrangements were speedily made, and on a still,
bright morning we bade adieu to our friends who had accompanied us thus
far, mounted our car, and set sail.

We left the earth with light hearts, excited with the novel and
interesting character of the enterprise, and but little realizing its
difficulty and danger. Ordinary balloon journeys had become frequent,
and the evolution of the air ship had almost passed beyond the
experimental stage, but nothing like our present undertaking had ever
been attempted.

Our starting place was far enough from the resting point of the moon
to enable us to clear the rounded side, but in order to reach the
equatorial line of the fallen globe we would be obliged to ascend over a
thousand miles.

The fact that we were not appalled by the mere thought of rising to such
a height shows how thoroughly we were carried away with the excitement.
But we were better prepared for a lofty flight than might be supposed.
For among the recent wonders of science had been the invention of an
air-condensing machine, by which the rarefied atmosphere of the upper
regions could be converted into good food for the lungs. These machines
had been successfully tested more than once by voyagers of the air, but
the present occasion promised to give them a much more severe trial than
they had yet received. And, indeed, it is impossible to imagine how
we could have survived without them. Another important aid to science
rendered by this air-condensing apparatus is that in the process of
condensation water is produced in sufficient quantities to drink. Our
little car was tightly inclosed, and we took enough surplus gas with us
to keep it comfortably warm. So, with plenty of food, air, water, and
fuel, we were pretty well prepared for a long journey.

Our instruments, placed just outside the glass sides of the car, told
us how fast we were rising and what height we had reached from time
to time, and as we left the denser atmosphere of the earth we were
gratified to find that we continued to rise rapidly. On one side of
us we could see the rugged surface of the moon, now, on account of its
rounded form, drawing nearer to us every hour as we approached the point
where we hoped to land. We thought it best to try to pass the center and
land, if possible, somewhere on the upper hemisphere, which was the
part of the monstrous object that we wanted to investigate. But when
at length we thought we were about to fly past the moon’s equator
successfully, an unexpected thing happened.

If we suppose the moon was resting, at the bottom of the ocean, on one
of its poles, we were going toward the equatorial line, and we thought
we should not be able to retain a foothold anywhere below that line
certainly. But now, what was our surprise to find ourselves under some
mysterious influence. Our balloon refused to obey us as heretofore, and
in spite of rudder and sail we were drifting about, and appeared to be
going toward the moon’s surface sooner than we had intended.

In scientific emergencies I deferred to my companion, and now asked
for an explanation of this erratic behavior of our balloon. Instead of
replying at once, the doctor stooped and cut a fine wire, which released
one of the sand bags suspended for ballast from the bottom of our car,
and told me to watch it. We both watched it, and instead of starting
with rapidity for the center of the earth, as all well-conducted sand
bags have done from the beginning of the world, it seemed to hesitate
and float around a minute, as though it were no more than a handful of
feathers. And then, slowly at first, but soon more and more swiftly,
forgetting its birthplace and its old mother earth, it fell unblushingly
toward the moon.

Intent on watching the fickle sand bag, we did not at first notice that
our whole conveyance was practicing the same unhandsome maneuver. But
we soon became aware that we had changed allegiance also. We had started
with the earth at our feet and the moon looming up on one side of us,
but here we were now riding with the moon under us and the earth away
off at our side.

My fellow in this strange experience now found his voice.

“You doubtless realize,” said he, “what has taken place. We are now so
far from the earth that its attraction is very weak and the nearer mass
of the moon is drawing us.”

“That is quite evident,” I said, “but you seem as unconcerned about it
as if such a trip as this were an everyday affair with you.”

“I am not at all indifferent to the wonderful character of this
journey,” he replied, “but its scientific value swallows up all personal

I believed this to be true, and I will say right here that in all our
future experiences the doctor showed the same indifference to everything
like fear, and seemed content to go to any length in the interest of

We were now able to govern our movements by the ordinary methods of
ballooning, and after sailing over the surface of the moon a few hours,
studying its rugged outlines, we began to think of selecting a place
for landing. There was no water to be seen and no forests nor other
vegetation, but everywhere were huge mountains and deep valleys, all as
bare and uninviting as it is possible to imagine.

But it would not do to turn a cold shoulder to her now, and so we
descended gracefully to make her close acquaintance, cast out our
anchor, and were soon on the moon in reality.



“Well, Doctor,” said I, as soon as our feet touched the ground, “the
moon is inhabited now if never before.”

“Yes, yes,” he answered, “and I am glad to find the inhabitants are of
such a lively disposition.”

“Oh, who can help being light-hearted,” I rejoined, “when one’s body is
so light?”

For as soon as we left our car we began to have the queerest sensations
of lightness. We felt as if we were standing on springs, which the least
motion would set off and up we would go toward the sky. Everything we
handled had but a small fraction of the weight it would possess on the
earth, and our great air-condensing machines we carried about with ease.
But however high we might jump we always returned to the ground, and
whether we were on top of the moon or on the bottom of it, it was pretty
certain that we could not fall off, any more than we could have fallen
off the earth before we voluntarily but so rashly left it.

My exhilaration of spirit did not last, for I could not help thinking of
our condition. The law of gravitation surely held us, although with less
force than we had been accustomed to, on account of the smaller size of
the moon; and how were we to get away from it?

I again appealed to my companion.

“I do not like the idea of spending the rest of our lives on the moon,
Doctor, but can you tell me how we are to prevent it? Can we ever get
back within the earth’s attraction again?”

“I have been pondering the subject myself,” he replied, “and I think I
can give you some hope of seeing home once more. If our old measurements
of the moon are correct, and if we are, as I suppose, somewhere near
the equator, we must be about fifteen hundred miles from the earth,
following the curve of the moon’s surface. Now, after we have finished
our investigations here, we can start for home on foot. We can cover a
good many miles a day, since walking can be no burden here, and we can
easily tow our balloon along. As we approach the earth, my impression
is that we shall become more and more light-footed, for we shall be
gradually getting back to the earth’s attraction. Somewhere between this
point and our planet there must be a spot where the attraction of both
bodies will be equal, and we can stay on the moon or drop off and return
to the earth in our balloon as we please.”

“What a curious idea,” I answered; “and yet, considering the strange
behavior of our sand bag, I don’t know but you are right. And I have
only one suggestion to make; that is, that we start earthward at once
and try the experiment. Let the investigations go. If there are any
inhabitants here they will never miss us, since we haven’t made their
acquaintance yet. Science or no science, I object to remaining any
longer than necessary in this uncertainty in regard to our future.
You know very well we couldn’t live long in this temperature and with
nothing for our lungs but what comes through these horrid machines. And
what good would come of our discoveries if we are never to get back to
the earth again? I profess to have as much courage left as the ordinary
mortal would have, but in the present circumstances I believe no one
would blame us for wanting to settle this question at once.”

“It would seem a trifle ridiculous,” said the doctor in reply to this
harangue, “for us to return to our planet without any further effort
to accomplish our errand. But I will not deny that I share something of
your feeling, and I will start with you right away, on condition that
you will return here if we find that I am correct in believing we can
leave the moon at our pleasure.”

“Agreed,” I cried, and we were soon on our way.

So far we had been exposed to the sun and were almost scorched by the
intensity of its rays. We had never experienced anything like such heat
and would not have supposed the human body could endure it. But now,
soon after we had started to find the place where the moon would let
go of us, the sun set and, with scarcely a minute’s warning, we were
plunged into darkness and cold. The darkness was relieved by the
exceedingly brilliant appearance of the stars, the sky fairly blazing
with them, but the cold was almost unendurable even for the few moments
in which we were exposed to it. We secured our car as speedily as
possible, climbed into it, and got a little warmth from our gas heater.

These extremes of temperature convinced us that no life such as we were
acquainted with could exist a great while on the moon.

We found we could make no progress at all by night. We could only shut
ourselves up and wait for the sun to come. In trying to keep warm we
would work our air-condensers harder than usual, and the water thus
produced we would freeze in little cakes, and have them to help mitigate
the burning heat a short time the next day.

The country through which we were traveling was made up of bold mountain
peaks and deep ravines. There was no sign of vegetation and not even
the soil for it to grow in, but everywhere only hard, metallic rock that
showed unmistakably the action of fire.

And so it was with the greatest difficulty that we made our way
earthward, although there was so little effort needed in walking. As I
pondered the doctor’s idea, it seemed to me more and more that he
must be right. We were certainly held to the moon where we were by
gravitation. It was just as true that near the surface of the earth its
superior attraction would draw all objects to itself. Accordingly, if
we kept on our way, why should we not in time come to a place where we
could throw ourselves once more under the influence of the old earth,
now becoming very dear to us?

Thinking chiefly of this subject and talking of it every day, we labored
on, and finally were wonderfully encouraged with the belief that we were
actually walking easier and everything was becoming lighter. Soon this
belief became a certainty, and, since leaping was no effort, we leaped
with joy and hope.

And now how shall I describe our sensations as we went bounding along,
hardly touching the ground, until we finally came to the place where it
was not necessary to touch the ground at all? Now we knew that by going
only a little further we should be able to mount our car and set sail
for the earth again. But with this knowledge we lost at once much of
our desire, and thought we would not hasten our departure. Here we were,
absolutely floating in the air, and it maybe believed that the feeling
was as delicious as it was unique. Using our hands as fins we could with
the slightest effort sail around at pleasure, resting in any position we
chose to take, truly a most luxurious experience.

“How shall we make our friends believe all this when we try to tell them
about it, Doctor?” said I.

“The best way to make them believe it,” he replied, “is to bring them
up here and let them try it for themselves. I propose to organize an
expedition on our return and bring up a large party. We could manage to
land somewhere in this vicinity, I think, instead of going up as far as
you and I did. What a place this would be for summer vacations! The moon
is a fixture now; it cannot get away. I am sure of that, for the law of
gravitation will never release it. So we may as well make what use of
it we can, and these delightful sensations will no doubt form the
most important discovery that we shall ever make on this dried-up and
worn-out satellite. You know many people are willing to put themselves
to much inconvenience and to undergo many hardships for the sake of a
change from the monotony of home life. If we can induce them to come
up here for a few weeks, and if they can endure this rather erratic
climate, they will find change enough to break up the monotony for one
year, I think.”

After enjoying this rare exercise to our content, we began preparing
for the night which was now coming on. The doctor had reminded me of my
promise to return to our former position on the moon, and we agreed to
set out the next day. Having fastened our car securely to the ground,
so that we might not drift off toward the earth, we entered it and made
ourselves as comfortable as possible.

Our resting place was near the center of what seemed to be an immense
crater, and some time before morning we were roused by a violent shaking
of the ground beneath us, which startled us beyond expression.

“What’s that?” I exclaimed.

“That feels very much like a moon-quake,” replied my companion.

I was terribly frightened, but resolved to follow the doctor’s example
and make light of what we could not help.

So I said:

“But I thought the lunar volcanoes were all dead ages ago. I hope we
haven’t camped in the crater of one that is likely to go off again.”

“My opinion is,” answered the doctor, “that there is still water inside
the moon which is gradually freezing. That operation would sometimes
crack the surface, and this has probably caused the quaking that we have

While we were talking the wind began to blow, and soon, although it was
long before time for the sun to rise, we suddenly emerged from darkness
into bright sunlight. We sprang up instinctively to look about us and
try to discover what this could mean, when what was our consternation to
find ourselves adrift!

There, in full view of our wondering eyes, was the whole, round earth,
hanging in space, and where were we? Then we began to realize gradually
that the trembling of the ground was the grating of the moon against
the earth as it left its resting place, and the wind was caused by our

The novelty of the situation took away for a time the sense of fear, and
I exclaimed:

“Another scientific certainty gone to smash! I thought you said the moon
could never get away from the earth. What are we going to do now?”

“Well,” replied the doctor, “this is certainly something I never dreamed
of in my philosophy. I didn’t see how the moon could be drawn away from
the earth when once actually attached to it, but I suppose the sun
and planets all happen to be pulling in one direction just now and are
proving too much for the earth’s attraction. But what concerns us more
at this time is covered by your question, ‘What are we going to do now?’
And I will answer that I think we will stick to the moon for a while.
You can see for yourself that we are held here much more firmly than
when we were disporting ourselves in the air yesterday, and the earth
is now too far away for us to throw ourselves and our balloon within its

I knew by the feeling of increasing weight that what my companion said
must be true, but we could not then appreciate the dreadful nature
of our condition, so wrapped up were we in the grandeur of the object
before our eyes. To those who have never been on the moon in such
circumstances it will be impossible to adequately describe our feelings
as we gazed upon our late home and knew that we were fast drifting away
from it.

There the round globe hung, as I had often pictured it in my
imagination--oceans and continents, mountains, lakes, and rivers, all
spread out before us--the greatest object lesson ever seen by the eye
of man. As we studied it, recognizing feature after feature, lands
and waters that we knew by their familiar shape, the doctor broke our
reverie with these words, evidently with the endeavor to keep up my

“That looks as natural as a map, doesn’t it? You have seen globes with
those divisions pictured on them, but there is the globe itself. If
our summer tourists could take in this experience also, it would make a
vacation worth having. Isn’t it grand? I see you are thinking about our
personal peril, but I think I know men who would take the risk and put
themselves in our place for the sake of this magnificent view.”

“If you know of any way to send for one of those friends, I wish you
would do so,” I replied. “I would willingly give him my place.”

It may be believed that we were all this time anxiously watching
the earth, and it did not lessen our anxiety to realize that we were
traveling very rapidly away from it. I had reached a point now where I
did not place much dependence upon the doctor’s science, but to get some
expression of his thoughts I said to him:

“Well, have you any opinion about our fate? Are we doomed to pass the
remainder of our lives circling around our dear old earth, looking upon
her face day by day but never to approach her again?”

“I think you have stated the case about as it is,” said he, “if,
indeed, this rate of speed does not carry us entirely beyond the earth’s
attraction, out into illimitable space.”

The thought of such an additional catastrophe silenced me, especially
as I could not deny its possibility. Life on the moon, if we could only
keep the earth in sight even, seemed almost endurable now, beside the
idea that we might be cast out to shift for ourselves, without a
tie save such as the universal law of gravitation might find for us

It must not be imagined that our conversation was carried on with ease
or that we were half enjoying our novel situation. We were simply trying
to make the best of a very bad matter. Not long after we had started the
wind had taken away the balloon part of our air ship, and now threatened
every moment to tear the car from its moorings and end our unhappy
career at once. Besides this impending catastrophe, it was with the
greatest difficulty that we could get air enough to fill our lungs, but
the cold was so intense whenever our side of the moon was turned away
from the sun that we needed the severe labor on our condensers to keep
us from freezing.

Meantime, our speed increasing every hour, the planet that had once been
our home was growing smaller before our eyes. At length we were flying
through space at such a rate that we could not suppress our fears that
the terrible suggestion of the doctor’s would be realized. We had both
made a mental calculation as to how large the earth ought to look from
the moon at its normal distance, and as it approached that size we could
not hide our anxiety from each other. Without a word from the doctor I
could see by his face that hope was fast leaving him, and as we were now
going more rapidly than ever I felt that we had nothing to do but accept
our fate.

In regard to such intensity of feeling at this stage of our experience,
it maybe objected that our condition was hopeless anyway, and it could
make no difference whether we remained within the earth’s influence
or not. But in spite of our desperate situation we had some sentiment
remaining. The earth was the only home we had ever known, and I am not
ashamed to say that we did not like to lose sight of it; especially
as there was not the slightest possibility that we should ever see it
again, unless, indeed, our moon should turn into a comet with eccentric
orbit, and so bring us back at some future day--a very unlikely
occurrence, as all will admit who know anything about moons and comets.

Our speed did not lessen but rather increased as we gradually broke away
from the earth’s attraction, and the dear old earth was fast becoming
a less significant object in our sky. If our situation was lonesome
before, it was now desolation itself.

“Doctor,” said I, when I could control my emotions enough to speak,
“where now?”

“Well,” he replied, with a grim attempt at a smile, “my opinion is not
worth much in our present strange circumstances, but it seems to me we
are on our way either to the sun or one of the large planets.”

I did not reply, and we both soon found it wise to expend no unnecessary
breath in talking. The ether was now so thin that it took oceans of it,
literally, to make enough air to keep us alive.

Our provisions were nearly exhausted, our strength was failing, and
I really believe we would not have lived many days had not something
occurred to divert our minds and to relieve some of our physical



At the time we tied our car to the rocks, to prevent us from drifting
away from the earth, we did not anticipate that the fastenings would
receive any very severe strain, but now the velocity of the wind was
such that there was great danger of our breaking away. The moon was not
a very hospitable place, to be sure, as we had thus far found it, but
still we preferred it to the alternative of flying off into space in our
glass car and becoming a new species of meteor.

And yet it seemed to be courting instant death to attempt to leave the
car and seek for other shelter. We could not decide which course to
take. Both were so full of peril that there seemed to be no possible
safety in either.

As I review our situation now, and think of us spinning along on that
defunct world we knew not whither, with no ray of light to illumine the
darkness of our future or show us the least chance of escape from our
desperate plight, it is astonishing to me that we did not give up all
hope and lie down and die at once. It only shows what the human body
can endure and of what stuff our minds are made. I think it would not be
making a rash statement to say that no man ever found himself in a worse
situation and survived.

But help was nearer than we supposed. From what we had seen of the
moon we could not have imagined a more unexpected thing than that
which happened to us then. Suddenly, above the roar of the wind and the
thumping of our car on the rocks, even above the tumult of our spirits,
there came to us the strains of more than earthly music. Whether it was
from voice or instrument we could not tell, and in its sweetness and
power it was absolutely indescribable. At first we did not try to
discover its source but were content to sit and quietly enjoy it, as it
fell gently upon us, pervading our whole being and so filling us with
courage and strength that we seemed to be transformed into new men.

Then, wondering if we could discover from whence the notes came, we
turned and looked about us, when there was revealed to us a vision of
beauty which filled and satisfied the sense of sight as completely as
our ears had been enchanted with the angelic music.

Not far from our car, with her flowing garments nearly torn from her in
the fierceness of the gale, was a young girl, stretching out her hands
imploringly toward us and pouring forth her voice in that exquisite
song. We soon discovered it was not for herself that she was anxious,
but for us; for when she observed that she had attracted our attention
she smiled and turned to go back the way she had come, beckoning us
with hand and eye to follow her, and still singing her sweet but
unintelligible words. Perhaps I flattered myself, but I thought she
was looking at me more than at my companion, and I began with great
eagerness to unfasten the door of the car.

“Wait!” cried the doctor. “Where are you going?”

I could not stop an instant, but answered with feeling:

“Going? I am going wherever she is going. I’ll follow her to the end of
the moon if necessary, though the surface be everywhere as bleak as our
own north pole.”

“Well,” he replied, “if it is such a desperate case as that, I’ll have
to go along to take care of you.”

I found that when such a woman beckons and such a voice calls there is
but one thing to do. The sirens were not to be mentioned in comparison.
Twenty thousand hurricanes could not have prevented me from attempting
to follow where she led as long as I had breath.

We reached the ground in safety, and with the greatest difficulty made
our way in the footsteps of our guide, leaving all our possessions
behind us, to the doctor’s murmured regret. And now the words of
the singer seemed to take on a joyous meaning, and we could almost
distinguish her invitation to follow her to a place where the wind did
not blow and where our present troubles would be over. She kept well in
the lead but walked only as fast as our strength would allow, looking
back constantly to encourage us with her smile and ravishing one heart
at least with the melody of her song.

Presently we came to the edge of an immense crater, hundreds of feet
deep and as empty and cold as all the others we had seen on the moon.
Instead of going around this, our leader chose a narrow ravine and took
us down the steep side to the bottom of the crater. We supposed she did
this just to give us protection from the wind, and we were very much
sheltered, but she did not stop here. Entering one of the many fissures
in the rocks, she led us into a narrow passage whose floor descended
so rapidly and whose solid roof shut out the light so quickly that in
ordinary circumstances we would have hesitated about proceeding.
But, although it was soon absolutely dark, we kept on, guided by that
marvelous voice, now our sole inspiration.

“Come, come, fear no harm,” it seemed to say, and we were content to
follow blindly, even the doctor no longer objecting.


How many hours we proceeded in this way, going down, down, all the
time, toward the center of the globe, I have no means of telling; but I
distinctly remember that we began, after a time, to find, to our great
joy, that the air was becoming denser and we could breathe quite freely.
This gave us needed strength and justified the faith with which our
mysterious deliverer had filled us.

At length we were gladdened by a glimmer of light ahead of us, which
increased until our path was all illumined with a beautiful soft haze.
Soon the way broadened and grew still brighter, and then we were led
forth into an open street, which seemed to be part of a small village.
There were but few houses, and even these, although they showed signs
of a former grandeur, were sadly in need of care. Not a creature of any
kind was stirring, and in our hasty review the whole place looked as
if it might have been deserted by its inhabitants for a hundred years.
There was one spot, however, so retired as to be entirely hidden from
our view at first, which had anything but a deserted appearance. The
house was small, but it was a perfect bower of beauty, half-concealed
with a mass of flowers and vines. Here our journey ended, for our guide
led us to the door and, entering, turned and invited us to follow her.

The doctor and I were tired enough to accept with eagerness her
hospitality, and soon we were all seated in a pleasant room, which was
filled with the evidences of a refined taste. Now we had a much better
opportunity to observe the resplendent beauty of our new friend, and we
found, also, that her manners were as captivating as her other personal
qualities. At intervals, all through our long walk, her song had ceased
and we expected she would make some attempt to speak to us; but being
disappointed in this, it struck me after we had entered the house that
I ought to end the embarrassment by addressing her. The circumstances
of our meeting were peculiar, to say the least, and, of all the thousand
things I might have appropriately said, nothing could have been more
meaningless or have better shown the vacant condition of my mind than
the words I chose.

“It’s a fine day,” I said, looking square in her eyes and trying to
speak pleasantly.

In answer she gave me a smile which almost deprived me of what little
wit remained, and at the same time emitted one exquisite note.

I was now at the end of my resources. I had always thought I could talk
on ordinary topics as well as the average man, but in the presence of
this girl, with everything in the world unsaid, I could not think of one
word to say. The doctor soon saw my predicament and hastened to
assist me, and the remark which he selected shows again his wonderful
self-possession in the midst of overwhelming difficulties. He waved his
hand gently toward me to attract her attention and said:

“My friend and I are from the United States and have come to make you a
visit. This is your home, I suppose, away down here in the middle of the
moon? It is very kind of you to bring us here. I hope you will excuse me
for my rudeness, but what time do you have supper?”

This time three little notes of the same quality as before and then
a little trill, and the whole accompanied by a smile so sweet that I
suddenly began to wish the doctor had been blown off the top of the
moon. It was a wicked thought and I put it away from me as quickly
as possible, being assisted by the recollection that the doctor had a
charming wife already, who was no doubt thinking of him at this very

We were not making much progress in opening conversation, but our
charming hostess seemed to understand either the doctor’s words or his
looks, for, stepping into another room, she called us presently to sit
down to a table well supplied with plain but substantial food. She soon
made us feel quite at home, just by her easy and agreeable ways. We did
not once hear her voice in ordinary speech, and at length we began to
suspect, what we afterward learned to be true, that she talked as the
birds talk, only in song. Whether she used her language or ours she
would always sing or chant her words, and every expression was perfect
in rhythm and melody.

The doctor and I hesitated to say much to each other, out of deference
to the feelings of this fair lunarian, but he took occasion to remark to
me quietly that as she could not tell us her name just yet he proposed
to call her Mona [Footnote: _Mona_ is old Saxon for _moon_.] for the
present. I assented easily, as it made little difference to me what we
called her, if she would only remain with us.

It happened that the doctor, who knew everything, was well acquainted
with dactylology and the latest sign language, used in the instruction
of deaf mutes, and as it seemed likely that our stay in our present
abode might be a prolonged one, he told me he would try to teach Mona to
converse with us. I could not object, although I secretly wished I could
have taken the place of instructor. But it soon occurred to me that I
must be a fellow pupil, if we were all to talk in that way; and so,
with this bond of sympathy established between us, Mona and I began our

During the closing years of the century great progress had been made, on
the earth, in the method of talking by arbitrary signs and motions.
The movements of the body and limbs and the great variety of facial
expressions were all so well adapted to the ideas to be represented that
it was comparatively easy for an intelligent person to learn to make
known many of his thoughts. As our studies progressed day after day
it began to dawn on me that Mona, in spite of the disadvantage of not
knowing our spoken language, was learning faster than I was. I was
somewhat chagrined at this at first, but it finally turned out to my
advantage, for the doctor announced one day that Mona had acquired all
he knew and could thenceforth teach me if I pleased. Here was a bond
of sympathy that I had not looked for, but I was glad enough to avail
myself of it, and delighted to find that Mona was also pleased with
the plan. With her for a teacher it did not take me long to finish.
Her graceful movements made poetry of the language, and the web she was
weaving around my heart was strengthened every hour.

As Mona gradually learned to express herself to our comprehension we
began to ask her questions about herself and her history. The doctor,
being less under the spell of her charms than I was, showed a greater
curiosity, and one of the first things he asked was:

“When do you expect the other members of your family home?”

Mona was at first puzzled, but saw his meaning as soon as the motions
were repeated, and answered with a few simple signs:

“I have no friends to come home. I am alone.”

The expression we put into our faces told her of our sorrow and sympathy
better than any words, and the doctor continued:

“But these other houses! Surely they are not all empty?”

“Yes,” she replied, “their inmates are all gone. I am the only
inhabitant left.”

And then she told us from time to time that there were no other villages
anywhere in the moon and that she was absolutely the last of her race.
Our method of conversation was not free enough to allow her to tell us
how she had discovered the truth of this astounding information, and
there were a thousand other questions for whose answers we were obliged
to wait, but not forever.

The doctor and I talked freely to each other now, and playfully said
a great many things to Mona, who, though she did not understand them,
laughed with us and gave us much pleasure with her easy, unembarrassed
manner and piquant ways. And she not only jabbered away with hands and
face in the manner we had taught her, but she did not cease also to make
life bright for us by repaying us in our own coin and talking to us in
her natural, delicious way. With such music in the house life could not
be dull.

My infatuation increased as the days went by, and I began to seek every
possible occasion to be alone with Mona. I often encouraged the doctor
to go out and learn what he could of our surroundings, excusing myself
from bearing him company on the ground that I did not think it safe to
leave Mona alone. Or if Mona wanted to go out I would suggest to the
doctor that I needed the exercise also, and that he really ought to
be writing down our experiences while he had leisure, as there was no
telling how soon the moon would land us somewhere.

I did not then know whether the doctor saw through my designs or not.
I thought not, for I did not suppose he was ever so deeply in love as
I was. But if he did he was good enough to take my little hints and say

On these occasions, whether Mona and I remained in the house or walked
abroad, I wasted no time in asking her more questions about the moon or
such trivial matters, but spent all my efforts in trying to establish
closer personal relations between us. While she was exceedingly pleasant
and agreeable, she did not seem to understand my feeling exactly,
although I tried in every way to show her my heart. She was not
coquettish, but perfectly unaffected, and simply did not realize my
meaning. For once the sign language did not prove adequate; and so, as
my feelings would not be controlled, I was fain to resort to my natural
tongue, and poured forth my love to my own satisfaction if not to her
comprehension. I did not stint the words, astonishing myself at the
fullness of my vocabulary, and hoping that the fervor of my manner and
the passion exhibited in my voice would make the right impression on my

Day after day, as opportunity offered, I returned to the same theme.
Mona was sympathetic in her own charming way, but apparently not
affected in the manner I was looking for. And still, “I love you, I love
you,” was repeated in her ears a thousand times. The fact that she did
not understand the words made me all the more voluble, and I lavished my
affectionate terms upon her without restraint.

One day, after this had been going on for some time, the doctor came in
from a walk and found us together as usual. He had a rare blossom in
his hand, and stepping to Mona’s side he offered it to her with some
gallantry. She accepted it with a beaming countenance which set my
heart to thumping, and then she burst forth in a strain so sweet that
it thrilled my whole being and roused in me again that jealous fear that
Mona was learning to care more for the doctor than for me. But how
shall I describe my emotions when she suddenly blended syllables of
our language with the accents of her song, and, still looking into the
doctor’s eyes, closed her entrancing melody with the burning words, “I
love you”?

I wonder how other men have borne such a shock as that. It seemed to me
that by simply living during the next few minutes I was proving myself
stronger than others. And I was able to think, too. It occurred to me
that perhaps Mona was merely a parrot, repeating, with no perception of
their meaning, words which she had so often heard from me. But this idea
passed swiftly away when I remembered the warmth of her expression and
the ardor of her manner, both of which, alas, she had also learned from

As I recovered somewhat from the effects of the blow I found Mona’s eyes
were fixed on me, and she looked so innocent, so entirely unconscious
of wrong, that if I had any anger in my heart it melted away and left
me more her slave than ever. There was something in her behavior which
I could not comprehend, and it was evident that she had not yet acquired
any particular fondness for me, but these were not sufficient reasons
to make me cease to care for her. My love was too strong to give her up,
even after I had just heard her declare, in such a passionate way, her
love for another. These thoughts passed through my mind as she beamed
upon me in her radiant beauty, smiling as sweetly as ever, as if to
encourage me still to live and hope.

But how did the doctor receive this remarkable love-song? Like the
philosopher he was. Being astonished beyond measure at what he had
heard, he sat and pondered the subject for some minutes. What chiefly
interested him was not the personal element in Mona’s words, which was
so vital a point to me, but the fact that she could make use of any
words of our language. The possibilities which this fact opened up to
him were of the greatest moment. If Mona could learn to talk freely
she would be able to give us much information that would be of great
scientific value. After he had pursued these thoughts a while it
suddenly struck him that the expression she had used was a singular one
to begin with, and he turned to me and laughingly said:

“You must have taught her those words. I did not.”

“I shall have to acknowledge it,” I replied, “but I assure you I did not
influence her to make such use of them.”

“No, I suppose not; but that question is of small account beside the
knowledge that Mona has begun to learn our speech. Now let us give all
our attention to her instruction.”

We did so from that hour, the doctor from high motives of philosophy and
philanthropy, while I was actuated by more selfish reasons. Although
I had learned that I had been too hasty in my attempt to gain Mona’s
affections I did not despair of success. I should have to take time and
approach the citadel of her untutored heart with more caution. In the
pleasant task of teaching her the intricacies of the English language
I anticipated many delightful opportunities of leading her into the
Elysian fields of romance. If she could learn to understand fully my
intense feeling for her I had no doubt she would return my passion. With
such a hopeful spirit does the love god inspire his happy victims.

In order to assist in the realization of these rosy fore-thoughts, I
suggested to the doctor that each of us should take his turn in Mona’s
instruction, so as to make it as easy and informal for her as possible.
He had no objections to make, and we began a task which proved to be
much simpler than we had imagined. Mona had heard us talk so much
that she had half-learned a great many words and expressions, and her
remarkable quickness of intellect helped her to pick up their meaning
rapidly as soon as we gave her systematic aid. Hence it was not long
before she began to converse with considerable freedom.

From the first the doctor and I had been curious to know if she
would give up the musical tone and simply talk as we did, and we were
pleasantly surprised to find that her song was not interrupted by the
form of words she used. Whatever the phrase she wanted to employ she
turned it into verse on the instant and chanted it forth in perfect
melody. So spontaneous was every expression that her very thoughts
seemed to be framed in harmony. Her voice was not obtrusive nor
monotonous and generally not loud, but was always well adapted to the
sense of what she was singing. The tones mostly used in conversation
were low and sweet, like rippling water, but these were constantly
varied by the introduction of notes of greater power and range.

To have such use made of our rugged speech was a revelation to us, and
words, as we employ them, are inadequate to express our enjoyment of
Mona’s song, when to its former beauty was added the clear enunciation
of language that we could understand.

It was through this rare medium that the doctor and I learned, from day
to day, something of the history of Mona’s race. The surface of the moon
had once been peopled, as we supposed, but as the day of decay and death
approached the outside of the globe became too inhospitable to longer
support life. The interior had cooled and contracted, and as the solid
crust was rigid enough to keep its place, great, sublunar caverns had
been formed. Into these rushed the water and the atmosphere, accompanied
by the few remaining inhabitants. The conditions were not favorable, in
such places, to the continuation of the race, although their advanced
knowledge in every direction prevented them from melting away suddenly.

Settlements had been formed in many different sections of the moon,
and interior communication was established between them. As the people
gradually passed away, those who remained naturally drew nearer together
until at last the remnant of the population of the globe were all
gathered in the little village where we were now living. Here the
process still went on, and year after year saw a constantly diminishing
number. A few years before our arrival Mona’s last companion, a girl
of her own age, had died, and ever since then this tuneful creature,
possessed of the most sunny disposition we had ever known, had lived
alone, with the knowledge that there was not another living being in all
the moon.

“So you see,” she sang, “I was as glad to find you as you were to hear

“But,” asked the doctor, “how did you know we were out there, nearly
ready to be blown off into space?”

“I didn’t know it till I saw you. I went out to try to discover what
was the matter with my old world. For some time I had had the queerest
sensations imaginable. I was accustomed to being out of doors a great
deal, and I first began to notice that I could walk and run more easily
than before. I was becoming rather sprightly for one who was so soon
to pass off this deserted stage. Then everything I took up seemed to
be growing marvelously light, and I began to have a feeling that I must
hold on to all my movable possessions, to keep them from getting away.
After this unaccountable state of things had existed for a while, there
came, one day, a terrible shock, which threatened to crack the moon’s
skull and rattle its fragments down upon my head. This was followed at
intervals by similar or lighter shocks, and it was all so exceedingly
unusual that I became very curious to know what was happening. Then all
was quiet for many days, but when at length the quakings began again my
natural instinct of self-preservation told me I ought not to take the
risk of another such siege, and so I started to make my way to the
surface by a well-known path. The trouble did not continue as I feared,
but I kept on, fortunately for you as well as for myself, and found
the outside world too uncomfortable a place for any of us to remain in
longer than necessary.”

This halting prose represents the meaning of what Mona said, but it
gives a feeble idea of the beauty of her poetic expressions, chanted in
melodious phrase and in ever-changing, ever-joyous tune.

We replied by explaining to her what had happened to her disjointed
world, expressing our gratitude also for her kindness in bringing us to
her sheltered home.



Ever since the doctor had been inside of the moon he had not ceased
to regret that we had left all our goods in the car of our balloon. He
mourned the loss of the instruments and other apparatus which had
cost him so much care, and then there were our official papers. Our
introduction to Mona had been rather too informal, and we thought
we might stand better with her if we could show her our credentials,
though, to be sure, she could not read them.

Several times the doctor proposed to me that we should go out and bring
in what we could carry if, perchance, we should find the wind had left
us anything. But I had my own reasons for preferring to remain where we
were. I was happy and was expecting every day to be happier still, and
so I put the doctor off by reminding him that the weather was very bad
outside and that we had been glad enough to get in with our lives.

I think he would have agreed with me and would have been contented to
stay if the question had been left entirely to ourselves. But Mona heard
us talking it over one day and said we could go without much risk if we
cared to try it, and she would go with us to take care of us.

Although it would be difficult to tell how Mona could help us when we
were outside, this idea sounded so assuring that the doctor determined
to make the attempt. I was obliged to acquiesce, fearing, in my
ignorance of all that was to happen to us, that the trip would keep me
too much from Mona’s side.

After due preparation we started, and reached the upper end of the long
passage without incident. But as we emerged we noticed that the light
had a peculiar tinge of red, quite different from its usual tone.
Meditating on this phenomenon, and speaking to each other as we could
find breath, we ascended the side of the crater, when there burst upon
our view a magnificent world, apparently but a little way off. Its ruddy
face showed us plainly what had caused the red light, and the doctor
made haste to exclaim:

“Aha! let me introduce you to the planet Mars.”

“Yes,” I replied, “and we may become too well acquainted before a great
while if our rapid flight is not checked.”

We soon found our car just as we had left it, and were glad to take
advantage of its shelter. In the new danger which loomed up before us
so threateningly, we all agreed that it would be rash to return into
the interior of the moon, to be crushed to death in the shock of the
impending collision; and yet, in remaining where we were, the doctor and
I felt that no reputable insurance company would call our lives a very
good risk.

But now was our opportunity to witness some of the depths of Mona’s
character. What was there in her nature so entirely different from
anything we had ever known? We had seen persons of cheerful disposition
before, and had heard of many exhibitions of courage and indifference
to danger, but here we had the very personification of fearlessness and
contentment. She talked freely of our situation and of what was likely
to happen, but appeared to be as light-hearted as ever, and her song was
just as cheerful as it had been in her quiet home. When we asked her
if she were not afraid, she replied that there was no such word in her
language and she could not appreciate its meaning.

“Fear,” said the doctor, “is a feeling excited by the apprehension of

“I think I know about the danger we are in,” she answered, “but I have
not the feeling you are trying to describe. When I was alone in my
underground village and thought the roof was about to fall down and bury
me there, I had no fear, as you say. I know that whatever has come to me
or to any of my race has always been for our good, and I am sure it
will be so in the future. I have but a short time to remain as the sole
inhabitant of this now useless globe, and the manner of my taking off is
not of the slightest moment. This old world’s day is now passed, and
I realize in that fact the reason for its unseemly behavior, first
knocking its toughened crust so rudely against the earth and then
coquetting in this manner with Mars. It certainly no longer shows any
respect for the race it has nourished, and hence I see that my day, too,
will soon be over. Whatever may be your fate you will doubtless see no
more of me after this excursion is ended.”

In the light of history this seemed extremely probable, and yet Mona
was not half as concerned about it as I was. I thought she ought to have
shown more anxiety about her future for my sake if not for her own, and
I ventured to say, although in a rather doleful tone:

“I hope, Mona, if the doctor and I are freed from this peril that you
will escape with us. If I thought there was no hope of that, I am sure
I should propose that we return at once to the middle of the moon and be
buried together.”

She laughed aloud as she sang out in joyous notes:

“Your mournful voice, my ardent friend, makes me think you would not be
very happy with the last alternative. But cheer up, we will all stand by
each other to the last.” It was in her abounding good nature and in her
faculty for inspiring us with her own hopeful disposition that we found
Mona fulfilling her promise to take care of us.

But now our attention could not be diverted from the planet which was
rapidly growing before our eyes. As we approached nearer and nearer
every minute, flying at such a terrific rate and aimed, apparently, for
a direct collision, it may be imagined that the doctor and I, in spite
of Mona’s presence, began to be exceedingly anxious lest our journey and
our lives should meet an abrupt and common end.

Unless such excursions as ours become more frequent in the future, it
will probably always remain a mystery how this one came to a close.
I can only relate our experience during the time that we retained our
consciousness, and leave the imagination to picture the rest. As we
entered the atmosphere of the planet, the rush of air increased till it
seemed as if a hundred Niagaras were sounding in our ears. I remember
having a dim feeling of satisfaction in the belief that such a violent
contact with the atmosphere must impede the moon’s progress, and offer
us some chance of landing in safety. Then I was bereft of all sense, and
when I regained consciousness I was lying in the bottom of our car in
perfect quiet and apparently unharmed.

I called aloud for the doctor, but no voice replied. Rising, I looked
about me and found I was afloat on a ruddy sea, alone, as far as my
senses could inform me, alone in a new world. Such a sensation of
homesickness came over me, such a longing for human fellowship, that our
former lonesome condition on the moon seemed like a paradise compared to
my present wretchedness.

So this was Mars, which we had studied with our telescopes and about
whose condition and history we had so often speculated. And now, as I
leaned my elbows on the edge of the car and gazed off over the deep, I
wondered, with more interest than I had ever before possessed, if the
world I had discovered were inhabited. Perhaps because it was such a
vital question with me, my naturally hopeful disposition began to find
reasons for a cheerful view. There were certainly favorable evidences
all about me. I was breathing an atmosphere evidently made for lungs
like mine. The air was soft and pleasant, and though I was drenched with
water by my fall I was not uncomfortable. I tasted the water and, oh!
joyful reminder of home, it was salt. The sun shed a beautiful light
around me, and as I glanced upward to see how bright and cheerful the
sky was, my reverie was suddenly broken off, for directly over my head,
poised as quietly as if it had always been there, was our old moon. It
seemed but a few miles away and I gazed at it with mixed feelings, with
thankfulness that I had escaped from its inhospitable surface with
my life, and with scorn for its present behavior. For there it was,
apparently perfectly at home and ready to bear the torch for Mars as
faithfully as it always had for the earth, its rightful mistress.

“Inconstancy,” I cried, “thy name is Luna.”


When the novelty of this sensational discovery was gone, my mind
returned to the contemplation of myself, and my situation seemed to me
so unique as to remove some of the natural feeling of fear. When one is
shipwrecked in the ordinary way his anxiety is caused by the uncertainty
that anyone will come to his rescue; while in my case I did not even
know there was anyone to come. But when I looked up at the moon and
remembered its erratic climate and our wild, unearthly journey, I could
not suppress a feeling of satisfaction with my changed condition. If
the doctor had only been with me we would have been able to extract
considerable comfort from our surroundings. But, as it was, I was very
lonesome, and whatever consolation I got from my reasoning about the
planet’s habitability was increased a thousand fold by seeing a speck
upon the horizon, which I hoped might prove to be a sail. I watched
it with intense interest, and was not disappointed. I will not try to
describe my feelings as this ship of Mars approached me, while I sat
wondering what manner of men I should see. The first thing that struck
me was the enormous size of the craft, and as it drew near I could see
that it was manned by beings proportionately large. I now began to fear
I should be run down, but soon I noticed one of the passengers or crew
who seemed to be looking at me through a glass. In a little while the
vessel slowed up, and a boat was put off in which a number of giants,
including the man with the glass, rowed toward me. When they had nearly
reached me I heard the latter say to the others:

“Yes, this is surely the little fellow we are searching for.”

I could not imagine what he meant by this, although it occurred to me
that it was a pleasant thing to have him speak good, plain English; but
the other circumstances were so entirely novel that, instead of opening
the conversation with some conventional remark, like a sensible person,
I burst out with:

“But Proctor says Mars has passed its life-bearing period.”

I hardly knew what I said, but it proved that they were just the words
to commend me to my new friend, for as he reached over and lifted me
into the boat he said:

“Why, how did you know Proctor? You must have misunderstood him, for he
would never say such a thing as that.”

While I was puzzling over this strange speech he continued:

“I think we have some one in the ship whom you will be glad to see.”

I began to fear I should not get on very well in Mars if all the
inhabitants talked in such riddles, but I said, as politely as I could:

“I am sure I need not wait to get to the ship to be pleased. I am
delighted to see you and your companions here.”

While we were returning to the vessel I gave Thorwald, for such I found
to be his name, a brief account of our journey on the moon and of my
mysterious arrival on their planet. I expatiated on the merits of the
doctor, and told Thorwald that he was probably still on the moon or else
at the bottom of their ocean.

I was thinking that Thorwald did not show much sympathy with me, when,
our boat having nearly reached the ship’s side, I looked up and saw the
doctor himself standing on the deck, a pigmy among giants. I was soon by
his side, and we embraced before our new-found friends without a blush.

“Where’s Mona?” were the first words he said.

“Mona!” I replied. “Who’s Mona?”

“Who’s Mona?” he returned. “Well, you have recovered pretty rapidly.”

I now discovered that, although I had found the body of my friend, the
best part of him was missing. In the fall from the moon he had evidently
lost his wits. I thought I would not let him know too suddenly what was
the matter, and so I merely said:

“Yes, I went into the water, but was not much hurt. When I came to my
senses I found myself in our car still. Tell me how you escaped.”

“Oh, I happened to fall near this ship, fortunately, and they picked me
up, and then, at my request, they set out to search for you and Mona.”

“Well,” said I, “you found me, and I am very thankful for it, but Mona I
fear you will never see.”

“What was the last you saw of her?” he asked.

I had great difficulty in keeping myself from laughing in the doctor’s
face at his odd fancy, but the thought came to me with some force that I
must not let his mental condition become known to the men of Mars around
us; and so, instead of replying to his question, I turned to Thorwald
and asked him if he could tell us how the moon had landed us so easily
on their planet.

In answer he gave it as his opinion that as the moon came rushing toward
them so swiftly it compressed the air in its path to such a degree
that it acted as a cushion, preventing a collision and sending the moon
bounding back over the path by which it had come. Probably at the moment
when it was nearest the surface, we had fallen off into the ocean.
The rebound, he supposed, was not sufficient to carry it beyond the
attraction of the planet, and so it poised itself and began to make a
revolution around Mars in its old-fashioned way.

Thorwald told us we had taken the best possible time to visit them, for
Mars had not been so near the earth before in a great while.

Our new acquaintances were from nine to ten feet tall and
proportionately large every other way, so that they appeared quite
monstrous to us. But they were agile and even graceful in their
movements, while in manner they were so gentle and pleasing that we
recognized at once their high culture.

The vessel was soon under way and made rapid progress, and though our
voyage was not very long, it proved to be an exceedingly profitable one
to the doctor and me, for we learned more, through conversation with our
new friends, about the history and condition of Mars than we could have
gained in any other way. The men were all kind to us and seemed to be
all equally able to impart information, but most of our intercourse was
with Thorwald. He gave us much of his time, at intervals as he could be
spared from work, for every man helped at the service of the ship. There
seemed to be no system of leadership, but all appeared to know what was
to be done, and did it without orders and without clashing.

As we entered into conversation about the earth and Mars, I was
surprised to find the doctor taking his full share in it with his usual
intelligence. His questions and answers were all so pertinent that I
should have supposed his mind was entirely unaffected, had I not known
to the contrary. When I saw he could hold his own so well, I determined
to take the first opportunity when we were alone to ask him again who
Mona was.



The conversation with our new friends was not all on one side, for we
had many questions to answer about the earth, the Martian mind showing
as great a thirst for knowledge as ours. One of the first things
Thorwald said after we had settled down to a good talk was:

“But, Doctor, your little head is so full of thought that it seems to me
you ought not to have been surprised to find us so large here. You knew
before you came that Mars is much smaller than the earth and, therefore,
the attraction of gravitation being less, that everything can grow more
easily. Things may as well be one size as another if only they are well
adapted to each other, and we would never have known we were large or
that you were small had we not been brought together. In the sight of
Him who made both the earth and Mars, and fashioned one for you and the
other for us, we are neither great nor small. In fact, size is never
absolute but only relative.”

“That is very clear to us now,” said the doctor, “and I promise not to
be surprised again, even when I walk the streets of your cities and see
you in your houses.”

“Then, Doctor,” said I, “if we had found inhabitants on the moon what
great folks they must have seemed to us.”

This was an exceedingly foolish remark for me to make, for it resulted
in the doctor’s almost betraying his condition to our friends.

Of course Thorwald was interested in what I said, and eagerly inquired:

“So you found no inhabitants in the moon?”

“Just one,” spoke up the doctor quickly.

“What! you found one and left him there?”

“It was a woman,” said the doctor.

This talk had been so rapid that I had not had a chance to interfere,
but I saw that I must stop it now for the doctor’s sake. When I could
see him alone I could tell him his memory was playing him a trick and he
must avoid that subject. So, before Thorwald could speak again, I said:

“Let me suggest, Thorwald, that we let the moon rest till we have heard
more of Mars, which I am sure is of greater importance. We have told you
many things in regard to our planet, and are willing to answer all the
questions you may please to ask from time to time, but now we would like
to listen a while.”

“Yes,” said the doctor, “we started on this expedition to add to our
scientific knowledge, and we seem in a fair way to accomplish our
purpose; so that, if you will find a way to send us back to the earth
some time, I think our friends will admit that we have been successful.
But first we want to learn all we can about this wonderful world. How
long has your race existed? Our astronomers tell us Mars is too old
to be inhabited, and, considering some of my own recent experiences in
finding my science unreliable, it rather consoles me to discover that
they are mistaken.”

“They are right,” Thorwald answered, “in believing that Mars is very
old, and so our race is nearing its maturity. It is impossible to
judge accurately of the age of the planet itself, but we know it is
exceedingly old from the evidences of changes that have taken place on
its surface. Neither can we tell when our race was born, though we have
legends and traditions dating back fifty thousand years, and authentic
history for nearly half that time.”

The doctor and myself now began to realize that we had indeed something
to learn from these people, and I remarked:

“These figures astonish us, Thorwald, and you can hardly understand how
interested we are. But please continue. From what little I have seen
I should think you are much farther advanced in everyway than the
inhabitants of the earth.”

“We believe,” replied the Martian, “that our planet is much older
than the earth, and if we are right in that it is but natural that our
civilization should be older also. If the tendency of mind is toward
perfection, if in your experience you have found that, in the main, men
look upward more than downward, what would you expect to find in a world
so beautiful as this and where life has existed so long? From what we
know of our own history and from what we have learned of the worlds
around us, we believe the life-bearing period of Mars has long since
passed its middle point, and that both our planet and our race have
passed through convulsions and changes to which other worlds, perhaps
the earth, are now subjected.”

This appeared so reasonable that I said to him:

“We must believe that Mars is an afternoon planet. And now we want to
hear whatever you may choose to tell us about your civilization.”

“That is a broad subject,” replied Thorwald, “but it is something I like
to talk about. If I judge rightly of what you have already told me of
the earth and its people, I think we were in just about your situation
ages ago and that we have merely matured. That is, the causes now
at work on the earth are having in us their legitimate effect. These
processes are slow but sure. To the Infinite time is of no more
importance in itself than is size.

“I know of no better topic to begin with,” continued Thorwald, “than the
matter of government. You wondered at the peculiar discipline on board
this ship. It is but a type of what you will find on land. We have
no government in its strict sense, for there is no one that needs
governing. We have organization for mutual help in many ways, but no
rulers nor legislators. The only government is that of the family. Here
character is formed so that when the children go forth into the world no
one desires to wrong his neighbor. We know from our histories of all
the struggles our ancestors passed through before the days of universal
peace and brotherhood. Now we go and come as we please, with no fear of
harm. We are all one nation because all national boundaries have
been obliterated, and we have a common language. There are no laws
of compulsion or restraint, for all do by instinct what is best for
themselves and their neighbors.”

“Oh, happy Mars!” here broke in the usually prosaic doctor. “That sounds
like a story. And yet what is it,” he continued, addressing me, “but
the effect of perfect obedience to our golden rule? If men should really
learn to do to others as they would have others do to them, what a
transformation it would accomplish.”

“So that is what you call the golden rule, is it?” asked Thorwald. “And
are you all trying to live by it?”

“Well,” I replied, “that is what many of us profess to be doing, but I
must say we fall far, very far short of the mark. I do not know a single
inhabitant of the earth, with the possible exception of my companion
here, who fully obeys that command.”

The doctor’s smile was not lost on Thorwald, who replied:

“It was rather too bad of you to bring so far away from the earth the
only good man the planet contained; but I am glad to know the golden
rule, as you may well call it, has been given to men. We have had
the same here, and, oh! if I could make you realize something of the
struggle our race has had in working it into life and practice, you
would gain some hope for the people of the earth. I mean, the result of
this struggle would give you hope, for I am not ashamed to say that
we are now living up to the full requirements of this law, and if you
should spend the remainder of your lives with us I am sure you would not
find my statement untrue. It is only by actually loving our neighbors
as ourselves that we are able to live as we do. The law of love has
replaced the law of force. It is well for you to understand this at
the beginning, for it is the secret of our wonderful success in all the
higher forms of civilization.”

“It must have helped you greatly,” said I, “in the matter of which you
have just been speaking, that of government.”

“Yes, it has,” he replied. “In our histories we have full accounts of
the long course of events when we were divided into hundreds of nations,
each with its own pride and ambition, and each striving to build up
itself upon the misfortunes or the ruins of its neighbors. You can
perhaps imagine what a mass of material we have for reading and study.”

“We can,” spoke up the student doctor, “and it fairly makes my mouth
water. But tell us briefly, Thorwald, how you ever passed from those
troublous times to the blissful state in which we now find you.”

“The transition was exceedingly slow; it seemed, in fact, impossible
that such a change could ever be effected. But it began with the
establishment of universal peace, which was demanded by the growing
spirit of brotherly love, and assisted by commercial reciprocity and a
world language. Gradually national boundaries were found to be only an
annoyance, and in time--a long time, of course--we became one nation
and finally no nation. For now no one exercises any authority over his
neighbors, since the need for all artificial distinctions has long since
passed away.”

“Then,” said I, “you have no doubt lost all fear and anxiety over the
conflicting interests of capital and labor.”

“Yes,” replied Thorwald, “for we have no such distinctions in society as
rich and poor, workingmen and capitalists. We all work as we please,
but there is so little to do that no one is burdened, and one cannot be
richer than another because all the material bounties of nature and art
are common to all, being as free as the air. I suppose, as this seems to
be strange talk to you, that you cannot realize what it is to belong to
a society where everyone considers the interests of his neighbor as much
as his own. You will find when you reach that point that most of your
troubles will be gone, as ours are.”

“Our troubles!” said the doctor. “Many of our troubles, to be sure,
arise from our passions and appetites--in other words, from our
selfishness--and these will no doubt disappear when we reach that
blessed state of which you have spoken, a condition prayed for and
dimly expected by many of our race. But other troubles of ours come from
sickness and severe toil, from accidents, famines, and the convulsions
of nature. How, for example, can you have escaped the latter, unless,
indeed, God has helped those who have so wisely helped themselves?”

“Your last thought is right,” answered our friend. “Nature has certainly
assisted us. While the crust of the planet was thin we know the central
fires heaved and shook the ground and burst forth from the mountains,
causing great destruction and keeping the world in fear. We do not know
how thick the crust of the planet now is, but nothing has been felt of
those inner convulsions for many ages. One of our feats of engineering
has been to see how far we could penetrate into the surface of the
globe. A well of vast size has been dug, the temperature being carefully
noted and observations made of the many different substances passed
through--water, coal, gas, oil, and all kinds of mineral deposits. The
work has progressed from one generation to another, and no one can tell
when it will be called finished, as it is determined to dig toward the
center of the planet as fast as our ever-increasing skill will permit.”

“Did you find out how thick the crust is?” I asked.

“No,” he answered, “we are not much nearer the solution of that question
than before, but we have made valuable discoveries as to what the crust
is composed of. The temperature has gradually, though slowly, increased,
and we believe the time will come when the work will have to be
abandoned on account of the heat. We have gone far enough to know that
when the fuel on the surface of our globe is all used up we shall only
have to tap the center to get all the heat we want.”

“What a capital idea that will be,” I interrupted, “to throw at some of
our pessimistic friends on the earth, Doctor.”

“We see now, Thorwald,” my companion said, “that your planet is too old
to give you any more trouble from earthquake and volcano, but how about
other natural phenomena, the tempest and cyclone for example?”

“Well,” replied Thorwald, “we have a theory that time, the great healer,
has cured these evils also. Let me ask, Doctor, if the earth ever
receives any accretions of matter from outside its own atmosphere?”

“Yes, we have the fall of meteorites, foreign substances which we
believe the earth encounters in its path around the sun.”

“I supposed such must be the case,” Thorwald continued. “And now, when
you consider the great age of Mars, perhaps you will not be surprised
to learn that this new matter, coming to us from the outside, was
sufficient to increase the weight of our globe and gradually decrease
the rate of speed at which we were traveling through space.”

“I am surprised, though,” said the doctor, “because the accumulation of
meteorolites on the surface of the earth is so exceedingly slow that
it would take millions of years, at the present rate, to increase its
diameter one inch.”

“But perhaps they came much faster in past ages. Let me ask you, Doctor,
if it is not a fact that the rate of revolution of Mars around the sun
is slower than the earth’s? I suppose you are far enough advanced in
astronomical science to answer that.”

“Yes,” replied the doctor, “you are correct. I believe the earth speeds
along at nineteen miles a second, while Mars travels only sixteen miles
in the same time.”

“We know by our computations that our speed is much less than it once
was, and our theory is that this has in some way hushed those terrible
storms and winds which we know were formerly so frequent.”

Here the doctor thought he saw a chance to make a point, and spoke as

“If the meteorites come in quantities sufficient to have caused such
changes, it seems to me their fall must be as great a menace to your
peace as the evils they have cured. They do not strike the earth in
large numbers, but still we have a record of a shower of meteoric stones
which devastated a whole village. I suppose all parts of your globe
are by this time well populated, and how can you be entirely free from
trouble when you are living in constant danger of the downfall of these
great masses of rock?”

“But we don’t have meteorites now,” replied Thorwald.

“Oh, you don’t?”

“No, they ceased falling long ago. Mars is going slow enough for the

“Very kind of them, I am sure, to stop when you didn’t need them any
longer,” said the doctor; “and I suppose you have some plausible reason
to give for their disappearance.”

“Yes, we believe that the interplanetary space was well filled
with these small bodies, circling around the sun, and when their
multitudinous and eccentric orbits intercepted the orbits of the
planets, they came within the attraction of these larger masses. Mars
has merely, in the course of time, cleared for itself a broad path
in its yearly journey and is now encountering no more straggling

“There, Doctor,” said I, “you are well answered. And now, Thorwald, tell
us how you have escaped other evils, famine and fire for instance.”

“Fire,” continued our friend, “was one of the first foes subdued. We
quite early learned to make our habitations and everything about us of
fireproof materials, and, if I mistake not, you on the earth will not
long endure an enemy which can be so easily put down. You will find all
materials can be so treated with chemicals as to be absolutely safe from
the flames. We have fire only when and where we desire it.

“When you speak of famines you touch a more difficult subject, but here,
too, time and skill have wrought wonderful changes. In our histories we
read of the time when the weather was chiefly noted for its fickleness,
and when some parts of our globe were mere desert wastes, where rain
was unknown and no life could exist. And in the inhabited portions one
section would often be deluged with too much rain while another would
have none, both conditions leading to a failure in agriculture and much
consequent suffering. A long time was spent in gathering statistics,
which finally proved that if the rainfall were distributed there would
be just about enough to water sufficiently the whole surface of the
globe. Nature provided rain enough, but it did not always fall where and
when it was most needed. It seemed to be left with us to find a remedy
for this apparent evil. When I say ‘us’ in this way I mean our race as a
whole, for most of these changes took place many ages ago.

“Our philosophers had seen so many difficulties removed and improvements
made in things supposed to be fixed that they began, once upon a time,
to assert that rain and snow and the weather in general ought to
be subject to our will. They said that in the advanced state of
civilization toward which we were progressing it would seem to be
an anomalous thing that we should continue to be subjected to the
annoyances of so changeable a tyrant as the weather. We seemed destined
to gain control of so many of the forces of nature that our future
mastery in this department looked to them reasonable. For a long time
these views appeared fanciful to the many, but this did not deter a few
enthusiasts from study and experiment. As knowledge and skill increased
we began, little by little, to gain control of the elements; but do not
imagine it was anything less than a slow and laborious work.

“First, as we learned something of the laws which control the
precipitation of the moisture suspended in the atmosphere, we discovered
a way to produce rain by mechanical means. As this discovery was
gradually developed we found we had really solved the problem. For, as
there was only a certain amount of moisture taken up into the air, the
quantity of rain could not be increased nor diminished, and so when we
made it rain in one place it was always at the expense of the rainfall
somewhere else.

“Since those early days vast improvement has been made, until now these
laws, once so mysterious and so perplexing, are obedient to our service.
The whole face of our planet has been reclaimed, and drouth and famine
on the one hand and floods on the other are entirely unknown. Each
section of country is given rain or snow or sunshine just as it needs
it, and there is no uncertainty in the matter.”

When Thorwald had reached this point my curiosity prompted me to ask him
to tell us in a few words how they could make it rain when they pleased,
and he answered that he would be glad to give us details of all these
matters if we insisted on it, but he thought it would be better for him
to present a general view of the state of their society, leaving it for
us to see with our own eyes how things were done, after we had reached
our destination.

I readily acquiesced, with an apology for my interruption, and Thorwald

“The doctor spoke of accidents, sickness, and severe toil as among the
sources of your troubles. With us, at the present day, all natural
laws are so well understood and so faithfully obeyed that there are no
accidents. Machinery and appliances of all kinds are perfect; nothing is
left to chance, but everything is governed by law. And as we follow that
law in every instance nothing can ever happen, in the old sense of that
word. To take a homely example, you have of course learned that it is
not well to put your hand into the fire, and so, though you use a good
deal of fire you keep your hands out of it. You know what the law is,
and you do not tempt it. By our long experience we have learned the
operation of all laws, and in every position in life we simply avoid
putting our hand into the fire. To be sure, we have been assisted in
this by superior skill and by our general steadiness and ripeness of
character. If I read history aright accidents were caused by ignorance
or neglect of law, and I am sure the people of the earth, when they
begin to realize fully how unnecessary they are, will soon outgrow them.

“As for sickness, you cannot understand how strange the word sounds to
me. Just think for a moment how useless, how out of place, such a
thing as sickness is. Like the subject just spoken of, it comes from
disobedience to law, and although I know we were a long time in ridding
ourselves of it, it seems to me now that it must be one of the easiest
of your troubles to remove. With us the science of medicine became so
perfect that it accomplished a great deal of the reform, but more was
done by each individual acquiring full knowledge of himself and acting
up to that knowledge. In learning to love our neighbors we did not
forget to foster a proper love for ourselves. In fact, our creed
teaches that self-love is one of our most important duties. When one is
instructed to love his neighbor as himself it is presupposed that his
affection for himself is of that high quality that will always lead
him to do the very best he can for every part of his being. So, as our
development continued, we came in time to love ourselves too well to
despise or abuse or neglect the bodies we lived in. We studied how
best to nurture and care for those bodies, and when that lesson was
thoroughly learned we found that sickness and pain were gone, and with
them, also, all fear of death. For now we die when our days are fully
ended. The span of our life has been doubled since we began to know
and care for ourselves, and, at the close, death is anticipated and
recognized as a friend.”



Here Thorwald paused and said he should be obliged to leave us a short
time to attend to some duty in the management of the vessel. When he
returned I remarked that neither he nor his companions seemed to have to
work very hard.

“That,” he answered, “is just the thought I want to speak of next, as
the doctor has said many earthly troubles arise from severe labor. Here
there is no hard work for us. It is all done by some kind of mechanism.
Look at the handling of this ship, in which, as you say, no one is
burdened. The hard and disagreeable parts of the work are taken out
of our hands and are put into the hand of machinery, which in its
perfection is almost intelligent. It is so in all departments of work.
Inventions looking toward the saving of labor have closely followed each
other for so many years that their object is about accomplished, and all
the pain and sorrow accompanying daily toil are things of the dead past.
Even our animals are relieved from distressing labor and share with
us the blessings of an advanced civilization, every heavy weight being
raised and every burdensome load being drawn by an arm of steel or
aluminum, which neither tires nor feels. We do not need to pity a
machine. Why should flesh and blood, whether of dumb beasts or of more
intelligent beings, suffer the agony of labor when the work can be
better done by mechanical means?

“While speaking of the lower animals I may as well say here that we have
no wild beasts. All have been tamed; not merely brought into subjection,
but made the friends and companions in a sense of our higher race. Every
animal, large and small, has lost its power and will to harm us. The
wasp has lost its sting, the serpent its poison, and the tiger its
desire to tear. And not only is their enmity to us all gone, but they no
longer prey upon each other. Perfect peace reigns in this realm also.”

“What has brought about this highly interesting condition?” I asked.
“Was there a natural tendency toward perfection on the part of the

“No,” replied Thorwald, “I think not. The change has been accomplished
by us. Nothing that has life could help being uplifted by contact with
our ever-expanding civilization. We believe the chief factor in working
this great betterment in the animal creation has been our success in
entirely eliminating flesh as an article of food. We early came to see
it was not necessary for ourselves and that without it we were much
better prepared to assume the higher duties belonging to our advanced
life. We then began to experiment with the animals nearest us. It was
a slow and discouraging task at first, but finally we obtained results
that gave us hope of success. We found in the course of many years that
the digestive organs of the animals on which we were experimenting were
gradually becoming accustomed to a vegetable diet. We continued the
work, extending it to one class of animals after another, until in time
all carnivorous instincts disappeared.”

This interested the doctor exceedingly, and he remarked that he should
think there would have been some kinds of animals that would resist all
efforts to work such a change in them; but Thorwald answered:

“I have never read of such cases, but if there were any the species must
have become extinct, for now, in all this world, no conscious life is
taken to support another life. No blood is let for our refreshment and
no minutest creature is pursued and slain to appease the appetite of its
stronger neighbor.”

“Does this condition extend even to the fish of the sea?” inquired the

“Even to the fish of the sea,” answered the Martian.

“Now that you discover,” he continued, “what improvement has been
wrought in the lower animals, you can understand that their comfort is
an object of our solicitude, and that we take great pleasure in knowing
that they are relieved from all hard labor.”

“But you haven’t told us,” said I, “what is the source of the power that
does all your work.”

“Let me ask,” replied Thorwald, “if you have begun to use electricity

“Yes,” I answered, “we are trying to harness it, but it is still far
from obedient to us.”

“I perceive,” said our friend, “from this and other things you have
told me, that your development is going on in about the order which has
prevailed on Mars. Do not be discouraged in your efforts to bring that
mysterious and wonderful agent, electricity, into complete subjection.
You will find it your most useful servant, and in connection with
aluminum it will enable you to solve numerous problems and remove many
difficulties from your path of progress.

“Here we have made full use of both of these valuable helps. Electricity
enters into every department of life.

“It runs our errands, takes us from place to place, builds our houses,
cooks our food, and even is applied to the growth of our food when we
are in haste for any article. Its laws are so well understood that there
is no fear of personal injury from its use, and I will show you how
familiar an aid it is to us. Here,” he continued, taking from his
pocket a brightly polished case of metal, “is a compact storage battery,
containing, not electricity itself, of course, but elements so prepared
that a simple touch will start into motion a powerful current, able to
perform almost any task I may ask of it. This case, you see, is so small
and light that it is no burden, and yet it contains power enough to
serve me for many days. Of course, all our work of a fixed character
has appliances with the power permanently attached, and these portable
reservoirs are carried about with us only for detached and unexpected

To my experienced eye the doctor’s face looked a little skeptical at
this last remark, and he said:

“But how can the power be applied in these emergencies? Suppose, for
example, it were necessary for you to go from here to the other end of
this vessel in half a second, how would the electricity in your box help
you do it?”

“If I really thought, Doctor, you wanted to be rid of me I would be
tempted to try it; but, as I told your companion just now, you had
better learn all you can of our history before you begin to see what we
can do.

“I haven’t told you half of the wonders performed by this marvelous
power. It has long been our chief reliance for rapid traveling. You find
us in this ship; but, although navigation is a perfected science, this
mode of traveling is tedious, and ships are used only for pleasure and
such out-of-the-way trips as this. Journeys from place to place over
established routes are made in large tubes, in which the cars are
propelled by electricity. These tubes run both on land and water, being
suspended in the latter a little way below the surface. Both tubes and
cars are air-tight, and the adjustment is so perfect that the cars slide
along with the greatest ease. Riding in an air-tight chamber would not
be pleasant if much time were to be occupied in that way, but the cars
are propelled so swiftly that the time from one station to another is
hardly appreciable. At every stop the cars are opened and apparatus set
in motion which changes the air completely almost in a moment. Where the
tubes run under water shafts for air are put in at the stations. There
is always a double line, one tube for each direction. No chance is left
for accidents.

“Of course we navigate the air, swiftly and safely. If not in too much
haste we always take the aerial passage, and often on a pleasant day the
sky over a great city will be as full of air ships, or balloons as we
still sometimes call them, as its harbor is of pleasure boats. In this
department inventors had a fruitful field, the use of aluminum offering
abundant opportunity for the greatest variety of devices, and the
development of the flying machine was one of the most interesting
features in the march toward our present high civilization. Perhaps the
presence of so many electrical machines in the air and the utilization
of so much electricity on land and water have, after thousands of years,
done much toward freeing us from the thunderstorm, with its deadly
lightning. We have fairly robbed the clouds of their electricity and
taught it to do our work.

“Swift and economical as our modern electric cars are, there is one
mode of traveling sometimes adopted which is more rapid still, and
the cheapest and in some respects the easiest way of getting over the
surface of the globe ever dreamed of. It was discovered by accident,
just before accidents entirely ceased, in the following manner:

“A couple of scientific enthusiasts, of the kind we call cranks--I don’t
know what you call them on the earth--conceived the idea that they
could find something better to take the place of the highly purified and
buoyant gases which we used in our flying machines. They observed, in
the lofty flights they were accustomed to make into the air, that as
they ascended the atmosphere grew lighter, and this led them to think
they might go far into the upper regions, collect large quantities of
rarefied air, bring it down, and use it for floating flying machines. Of
course, they understood that any vessel this thin air was put into must
be strong enough to prevent being collapsed by the weight of the denser
atmosphere on the surface. But they thought small spherical vessels of
very thin metal could be made that would withstand this pressure and
still hold enough to float and carry some weight besides. They had a
large number of these hollow balls made and started on a trial trip,
expecting to bring down only a small quantity each time. But, in their
endeavor to obtain the very best quality of lifting material possible,
they went much higher than they intended, although this did not cause
them as much inconvenience as might have been expected, since they were
provided with the latest improved breathing apparatus. The result of
their adventure, however, was a discovery of such magnitude that it
drove from their minds all thought of their real errand and we never
again heard of that project. After remaining at an extreme height a few
hours, the surface of the planet being hidden by clouds, they began
to descend, and when they were near enough to see the features of the
country below them, everything looked strange and unknown. They could
not account for this, but continued their fall, fully persuaded that it
must be their own world and not some other which they were approaching.
But even if they had not been correct in that, they could hardly have
been more surprised than they were to find, on landing, that they were
almost exactly on the opposite side of the globe from the place where
they made the ascent. They seemed to have traveled half way around the
world in that incredibly short space of time, when in reality they had
remained stationary and the world had traveled around them. The fact is,
they had risen above all the denser portion of the planet’s atmosphere,
and had reached a stratum of extremely rarefied air, which, it seems,
does not accompany the globe in its revolution. Of course, the facts
were at once heralded to the four quarters of the world, and the two
aerial travelers found themselves famous. But they did not wish to
let such an astounding discovery rest upon the results of a single
experiment, and so they proved themselves worthy of their new fame
by going home the way they came. That is, they mounted their flying
machine, rose again to the same lofty height, remained there about the
same time as before, descended, and were near their home.”

Here the doctor asked:

“And has this singular mode of traveling become popular, Thorwald?”

“For long distances east and west it is often resorted to. But I presume
you are asking yourself whether you could introduce it on the earth.
When you return and begin to think it over you will probably see so many
practical difficulties in the way that you will not attempt it. You must
have patience. All these things will come to your race in time.”



“I fear,” continued Thorwald, “that I am wearying you with this long

We assured him we were enjoying it too much to think of being tired, and
hoped he would not stop. But he said he had some duties to attend to,
and would take us to his room and leave us by ourselves for a while.

As soon as we were alone the doctor looked at me with a smile and said:

“Why did you act so queerly when I spoke of Mona?”

“Why did you speak so?” I asked in reply. “And how could you tell
Thorwald we found one inhabitant on the moon?”

“Did you want to have me tell him a falsehood?”

“Of course not. I tried to catch your eye and keep you from saying any
thing on the subject till we could consult in regard to it. If we are
going to color our narrative in order to make it more marvelous we must
at least make our stories agree.”

“My friend,” said the doctor, “I am now confirmed in my suspicion that
your brain was affected by your fall from the moon.”

I saw by this time that I need not hesitate further to tell the doctor
the truth. I disliked the task, but I saw it would not be safe to leave
him any longer in ignorance of his condition. There as no telling what
other preposterous tales he might invent. So I said to him gently:

“Doctor, your last remark makes it easier for me to tell you that the
first words you said to me on this vessel showed me that you were not
right. I kept it from our new friends here, and I thought I had better
tell you how you are, so you can be a little cautious. You talk all
right on most subjects, but you will do well to avoid the moon as a
topic of conversation. If the others ask any more questions about the
moon, you can just let me answer them.”

I said all this seriously enough, but the doctor laughed boisterously as
he answered:

“Well, if this isn’t a joke. You think I am crazy, and I know you are
crazy, and I can prove it. I will just ask you one question, which
please answer truthfully. Don’t you remember Mona?”

“Oh, there is Mona again! Don’t you see that only proves your own
madness? No, I don’t remember Mona, and you don’t either.”

“I must say,” returned the doctor, “I never expected to see you get over
your infatuation so quickly.”

“What direction did my infatuation, as you call it, take?”

“Marriage, I should say.”

“Now you interest me,” I returned, “and you must tell me more. Is
this Mona of yours the sole resident of the moon, of whom you spoke to

“Certainly she is, but you surely must be out of your head to call her
my Mona--I want no stronger proof.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Why, because but yesterday you scarce wanted to have me speak to her.
You tried to keep your jealousy from me, but there was not room enough
in all the moon to hide it.”

“This is very laughable,” I exclaimed.

“You did not think so then. But let me try to bring it all back to you
by another question. Don’t you remember her voice?”

“Most truly I do not. Why, what was the matter with her voice? Was
it loud and harsh, or was it squeaky? I cannot imagine anything very
pleasant in the way of a voice in such a wild and withered home as the
moon would make.”

“True,” answered the doctor, “as to the outside, but you forget our
visit to the interior.”

“There it is again,” said I. “Now, Doctor, the sooner you get rid of
these strange notions the better So tell me your recollections of our
stay in the moon, and I will let you know where you are wrong.”

“Very well. You remember, of course, when we found ourselves rushing
away from the earth so swiftly.”

“Yes, and then we remained shut up in the car day after day, more dead
than alive I think, until, fortunately, we were spilled out upon this
more favored globe.”

“You seem to be sincere,” said the doctor, “but if you are, then you
forget the most interesting part of our experience. Just as we were
about to be overwhelmed with our troubles we heard exquisite music,
which we soon found proceeded from a lovely maiden. You fell desperately
in love with her at first sight and never recovered till you were
plunged in the ocean of Mars. You insisted on following her nod, and she
led us at once through a narrow path down into the center of the moon.
Here, in her quiet home, we taught her to sing in our language--her only
speech was song--and the first words she used were to say she loved me.
She did not understand what the words meant, of course, but you looked
as if you wished I had been blown away before Mona had discovered us.
After that I helped you in your wooing all I could, but although your
passion increased every day your suit did not seem to prosper. One day I
expressed the wish that I had some of the things we had left in the car,
whereupon she led us out to the surface again, where we arrived just in
time to be thrown upon this planet. Here we are, you and I, all safe,
but where is poor Mona?”

“I am sure it would take a wise man to answer that question,” I replied.
“And now let me show you, Doctor, how wrong you are. If you will only
try to exercise a little of that good judgment for which you are noted,
you will be convinced that this is only a pretty little fairy tale which
has somehow taken possession of a corner of your brain. Now that the
fairy is gone you must try to forget the rest. Just think how unlikely
the whole story is. Think of a delicate girl living in such surroundings
as we found there; and then, how could we exist down in the center of
the moon?”

“Why, don’t you remember Mona told us the water and atmosphere had
all run down there, making it the only habitable part of the decaying

“Oh, that’s only one of your scientific notions, probably as true as the
others that we have disproved. Too much science has turned your head,
and I will prove it to you again by showing you how impossible is
the part which I play in your romance. I will tell you now, what you
doubtless do not know, that I am engaged to be married to the best woman
in all the earth, excepting your own good wife, of course.”

“Is that a fact?” asked the doctor. “And do you love her?”

“To be sure I do. I love her very dearly, and if I ever see her again I
shall tell her so in a manner to make her understand it.”

“Why, doesn’t she understand it now?”

“Yes, I think so, but she thought I didn’t show heart enough in my

“Well, if she could see you with Mona she would learn that you have
plenty of heart when the right one appears to make it spring into life.”

“You speak as if you thought I did not love Margaret. You do not know
her. Why, I wouldn’t once look at another woman anywhere, not even in
Mars, and most certainly not in that puckered-up old world that we have
just left, happily for us.”

“Do you know what I think about you?” asked the doctor.


“I think you have an exceedingly poor memory. First, you forgot Margaret
as soon as the voice of that fair singer fell on your ear, and now you
have forgotten the singer again the moment we have lost her. I await
with much interest your first introduction to a daughter of Mars.”

“You will be disappointed,” said I, “if you think I shall be more than
civil to her.”

“If she be handsome and can turn a tune moderately well, I shall be
willing to wager a fair young planet against the moon that you will
propose to her in a week.”

“I have done nothing to give you so poor an opinion of me. It is only
your own diseased imagination, and I do not seem to be curing it very
fast. I suppose, because your mind is naturally so strong, it is the
more difficult to destroy such an hallucination as has taken possession
of you.”

“I would give it up,” said the doctor. “The story is all true, and not
a work of my imagination. Isn’t it more reasonable to believe that you
could forget the circumstances I have related than that I could invent
such a tale?”

“Oh, I never could forget it if I had been false to Margaret. You do not
know me. If your vagaries had taken any other direction I might possibly
be brought to think you were right.”

By this time we both began to realize that the conversation was not
proving a great success in the way we had hoped, and so, after some
pleasant words and a hearty laugh over the situation, we found our
way to the deck again. Here there were various things to attract our
attention, different members of the crew being eager to show us about.
The doctor asked some question in regard to the system of steering the
vessel, and when one of the men had taken him back toward the stern to
explain the point, I found Thorwald and quietly explained to him the
mental condition of my companion.

“The doctor is all right,” I said, “on every subject but one. His head
must have been injured a little in his fall, and he imagines and asserts
with positiveness that we found a young woman in the moon, the last of
her race--a ridiculous idea, is it not?”

“And did you find any inhabitants at all?” asked Thorwald.

“Certainly not. No one could live in such a place. It is indeed
marvelous how we existed long enough to get here. The doctor calls this
creature of his brain Mona, says she was a great beauty, and plainly
intimates that I was rather too attentive to her. You will see what a
convincing proof this is of his unsound condition when I tell you I am
engaged to the best woman on the earth, and so of course could not show
any marked preference for another. I have told you about the doctor
so that you may pass over unnoticed any allusion he makes to these

Thorwald thanked me and said he would be careful not to embarrass us in
the matter. And so I flattered myself that in the future Thorwald and
I would sympathize with each other in commiserating the doctor. But I
afterward learned that the doctor, about this time, had also sought an
interview with Thorwald and had confided the following secret to him:

“My friend,” said he, “is a fine young fellow, but his head must have
been injured in his fall. He has entirely forgotten the best of our
experience in the moon. Queer, too, for he fell in love with the only
and last inhabitant of that globe, a beautiful, sweet-voiced maiden
named Mona, who never talked but she sang.”

Thorwald then made the doctor tell him the whole story, and at the close
he promised he would not pay much attention to anything I might say on
the subject in future conversation.

So it was quite a puzzle to Thorwald to tell which of his visitors from
the earth was of unsettled mind and which in his normal condition. He
decided to hold the question open and wait for further evidence.



As maybe supposed, the doctor and I were anxious to hear more about
Mars, and it was not long before we were all seated together again, when
Thorwald resumed his instructive talk.

“What further can I tell you of our condition and achievements? Every
science has made mighty progress in bestowing its own benefit upon us.
New arts have been discovered in the course of our development, about
which you would understand nothing. The aim and result of all science
have been to add to our comfort and happiness--our true happiness, which
consists in improvement and the constant uplifting of character. The
evils that once vexed our world, both those occasioned by natural
phenomena and those brought about by our own ignorance and sin, have, as
you have heard, almost completely disappeared. Even mental troubles are
gone, and no corroding care destroys our peace, for there is nothing
for us to dread; no dark future, filled with unknown evils, awaits our
unwilling feet, and no superstitious or unnatural fear disturbs the
peaceful quiet of our sleep.”

“And are we to understand, Thorwald,” I asked, “that you believe all
this rest from trouble and wrongdoing is coming to the earth, too?”

“Before replying directly to your question,” answered Thorwald, “let
me ask you if there is any tendency in that direction. Look back to
the earliest days of your history and compare the state of things then
existing with that of your own times. Has your world made any progress?
Is there any less violence? Are men learning to live without fighting?
Are the dark corners of the earth coming to the light?”

“In these and many other directions,” I answered, “I think we can see

“Then,” continued Thorwald, “it seems to me you must believe with me
that your world will one day come to the condition in which you find us.
Have not your holy prophets foretold a time of universal peace both for
man and beast, a time when a higher law than selfishness shall govern
all hearts and the earth be filled with the spirit of love?”

“They have,” I replied, “but most of us are so engrossed in the struggle
for existence that we think lightly or not at all of such things.
These prophecies have never impressed me as they do now when I see your
condition, and reflect that similar words may have been spoken and then
fulfilled here.”

“Let me assure you,” Thorwald made haste to say, “that the earth is
still young. I can see by all you say that your age is one of unusual
vitality and progress. A firm faith that victory will come and that
the golden age is before you will be a great help in your struggle with
evil. Lay hold of that faith. It is yours. It needs no prophet to tell
you that your race will one day reach our blessed state. First will
come the spirit of peace, and as I am sure war must be repugnant to such
minds as yours, you will readily learn to put it away from you. Then
will begin to cease all bitterness between man and man, and you will be
started on the road that leads to brotherly kindness. A world of sorrows
will fall away with the passing of individual and national strife, not
only the horror of the battlefield and the misery that follows it, but
also the more secret and world-wide unhappiness that comes from the
petty conflicts over the so-called rights of person and property.
Selfishness, that monstrous source of evil, must be dethroned, and then
the rights of each will be cared for by all. This will usher in for you
a new era.

“And now, when the mighty energy that has been expended in learning and
practicing the science of war, the skill that has been given to the art
of killing, the treasures of money and blood, the time, the brain
and the activities that have been employed in carrying out plans of
aggression, large and small, of neighbor against neighbor--when these
have all been turned toward the betterment of your condition and the
salvation of men from degradation and sin, then will the arts of peace
flourish and your day begin. Then will nature herself come to your
assistance, molding her laws to your convenience and comfort. It will
doubtless be a long time before a man can love and consider his neighbor
as himself, and before all of God’s creatures on your planet can dwell
together in perfect peace, but, believe me, the earth will live to see
that time.”

“Thorwald,” spoke the doctor, “your words are so inspiring that I almost
wish my life could have waited some thousands of years for that bright
day you so confidently promise for the earth, but I cannot help asking
myself if it is altogether a misfortune to live in the midst of the
conflict, with something ahead to strive for. Will you pardon my
presumption if I ask you practically the same question? You have told us
of your wonderful history and that you have now reached a condition of
peace and quiet. With no sickness or sorrow in your lives, with no evil
passions to rise and throw you, with nothing to fear from without or
within, yours must be a blissful condition. But still, is there always
content? In our imperfect state we are striving and learning. Our
happiness largely consists in the pursuit of happiness. If, some day,
we should find all difficulties removed, no obstacles left to contend
against, no evil in ourselves or others to overcome, not even our bodily
wants to provide for, it seems to me life would lose its zest and become
a burden hardly worth the carrying. Can you remove this unhandsome

“I will try,” answered Thorwald. “I suppose if the people of the
earth, with their present capacities and aspirations, should be brought
suddenly to such a state of civilization as ours, it would be as you
say. As your development continues, your minds and souls will expand and
you will be prepared to take up new duties and occupations as they
come. I cannot tell you what these are, for at present you would not
understand me. You mistake if you think we have ceased to learn. The
mind is ever reaching forward to new attainments, and the things which
chiefly occupy us now would have been beyond our comprehension in our
earlier days. Can you not find an illustration on the earth? Suppose
the untutored savage were suddenly required to throw away his spear and
arrow and engage in your pursuits, Doctor. Would he be happy? Your
mind is full of thoughts that he cannot grasp, your life is made up of
experiences and aspirations of which he has no conception. You can see
your superiority to the savage. Let me help you to look forward and see
your inferiority to the coming man, who, I assure you, will never tire
of life while anything that God has made remains to be studied. As
the mind expands, new wonders and new beauties in creation will unfold
themselves and your race will learn to look back with pity upon your
present age, with its mean and trivial occupations.”

“But, Thorwald,” I asked, “can you not tell us something of these higher

“But very little,” he answered. “I might give you one or two hints
of some things which I think lie nearest you, if indeed you have not
already begun to consider them. I need hardly speak of astronomy, which,
from the nature of the case, is the earliest of all sciences wherever
there is intelligent life to view the works of creation. You will find
great profit in advancing in this study as rapidly as possible. We have
not yet ceased to pursue it, and I think it is one branch of knowledge
which will never be exhausted, in the present life at least. Our
achievements in astronomy have been marvelous.

“Do not neglect to look in the other direction also for evidences of
God’s power and wisdom. The microscope will almost keep pace with the
telescope in revealing the wonders of creation. It will greatly assist
you in many of your higher employments.

“One thing that you will doubtless soon undertake is the study of the
speech of animals, which will go hand in hand with the development of
their intelligence. Both of these will claim much attention, but very
inadequate results will be obtained until after you have tamed and
domesticated the various species. You will want to discover how far
animals can be educated and whether their intelligence can ever be
developed into mind. As you progress in this study you will feel the
necessity of understanding their conversation and you will learn what
you can of their language. These tasks will seem of more importance to
you when the lower animals are all reclaimed and become the companions
and friends of man. You will try to discover the particular purpose for
which each species was created, and you will even be led to inquire, by
a long series of experiments, whether they possess the faintest shadow
of moral perceptions.

“Then there is the great subject of plant life. Does the sensitiveness
of plants ever amount to sensibility or feeling? If so, is it a feeling
you are bound to respect? That is, should a wounded and bleeding tree
excite in you even the slightest shade of that sympathy you feel with
a distressed animal? These are inquiries which you doubtless think of
little moment now, but we have spent many years pursuing them.

“These are only a few faint indications of the multitude of questions
which lie before you for study. In every investigation which you follow,
whether connected with the mysteries of your own complex being or with
the unexplored depths of creation around you, a chief source of interest
will be the constant discovery of a perfect adaptation in the works
of God. Of course you know something of it already, but you will never
cease to wonder at the unfolding of this truth, as you come to realize
more and more fully that creation is one, and is moved and ruled by one

“Oh, do not imagine that in the ages to come there will be nothing
to make life interesting. As your civilization advances and you are
released gradually from trouble and care, and from those petty affairs
which now so occupy you, your minds and souls will grow, and you will
see far more ahead of you worth striving for than you now do. Your
happiness can still consist largely in the pursuit of happiness.”



It was now so late in the day that further conversation was postponed,
and after a plain but exceedingly enjoyable supper we were shown
to luxurious rooms, where we spent our first night in Mars in great

In the morning Thorwald told us we would reach our port in a few hours,
and so we sat down as early as we could after breakfast for a short

The doctor furnished the text by opening the conversation with this

“It is wonderful to think we should find on this planet a race of people
so advanced, when so little thought is given, on the earth, to the idea
of life in other worlds.”

“What has been the general opinion among you on that subject?” asked

“The subject has not had standing enough to call forth much opinion,”
 the doctor answered. “There is an almost universal indifference in
regard to the matter. I think the common notion is that the earth is
about all there is in the universe worth considering.”

“But what are your own views, Doctor?”

“I have been one of those,” he replied, “who believed the notion of
life outside the earth to be a beautiful theory without one shred of
scientific basis. We knew the earth was inhabited and the moon was not,
and there we stopped. We did not know, and thought we never could know,
anything that could be called evidence pointing to the existence of
life in the other planets or elsewhere, and we held that there was no
advantage in speculation. We thought it unwise to spend much time or
thought on a subject about which we could know nothing. On coming here
and finding you I have learned that Mars is inhabited, but I do not know
any more about the other planets or stars.”

“Does not the mere knowledge that there are two life-bearing bodies lead
you to believe that there are more, among the vast numbers of worlds
which you have not visited?”

“I don’t see why it should. How can we believe anything without
evidence? No one has ever come to us from those distant globes, and they
are too far away for us to see what is taking place on their surface.”

“It seems strange, Doctor, to hear you reason in that way, but I suppose
some of our race were just as narrow, if you will pardon me for using
that word, as you are, before our wonderful successes in astronomy. I
believe you have not properly considered the subject, for it seems to me
you had knowledge enough, before you left the earth, to justify you in
holding to a strong probability of life beyond your own globe.

“Let us see what some of that knowledge is. You know, to begin with,
that one world is inhabited. Then if you should find other bodies as
large as the earth and bearing any resemblance to it, there would be no
improbability in the thought that they or some of them were filled with
life. The improbability is certainly taken away by the knowledge that
one such body, the earth, is inhabited.

“You start, then, without prejudice, on a voyage of discovery, aided by
your telescope and your reasoning faculties.

“First you find, within distances that you can easily measure, a small
group of dark bodies, which you have called planets, all apparently
governed by a common law, in obedience to which they are circling around
a large body of quite different character, which gives them light and
heat. Of these dark bodies, which shine in the sky only by reflected
light, the earth is one, and, you are surprised to find, not the most
important one, judging from all you can discover. Some of the others are
much larger and are attended by more satellites. In fact, the earth is
indistinguishable in this little group. While it is not the largest,
neither is it the smallest. It is not the farthest from the sun nor the
nearest to it. It is merely one among the number. And how much alike
the members of this family are. Your telescopes do not point out any
material differences, although each has its individual characteristics.
Let us enumerate some of the many points of resemblance. They all turn
on themselves as well as revolve around the sun. All see the night
follow the day, and in most of them there must occur the regular
succession of seasons. To each one the sun is the source of light and
heat, many of them have moons, and all can see the stars. Nor does
the resemblance stop here. For you have discovered that one has an
atmosphere, another is surrounded with clouds, while on the surface of
our own globe you see the polar snows increase in winter and melt away
in summer. Is it not probable that if you could get nearer to these
globes you would find still closer resemblances? And if they are like
the earth in so many ways, is it at all unlikely that they may, at some
period of their existence, be the abode of intelligent life? For what
other purpose were they made, Doctor?”

“They make very pretty objects for us to look at,” replied my companion.

“Yes, those that can be seen,” said Thorwald; “but is that all? Were
those great worlds, some of them hundreds of times larger than your own
globe, created merely to add a little variety to your sky, and to give
you the pleasant task of watching their movements under the pretty title
of morning and evening star?”

“Speaking from the knowledge I had when I left the earth,” the doctor
answered, “I can say I never heard that they were put to any other use.
No one ever came down to us from any of them to tell us they were

“And do you think,” asked Thorwald, “that the myriads of stars were also
made simply to delight the eye of man?”

“How do I know that they were not?” the doctor asked in reply.

“Because of the absolute unreasonableness of the thought, if for no
other reason,” answered Thorwald. “But now let me recall to your mind
more of the knowledge possessed by the inhabitants of the earth. I
think I know about what that knowledge is, from my acquaintance with
the present state of your development. Astronomy has been our master
science, and I can remember fairly well the extent of our knowledge
when we had reached your stage. If I should fall into the error of
attributing to you more than you have already discovered you can easily
correct me.

“If, now, you leave the little group of dark bodies which are so like
the earth, and go out still further into space, what do you find?
At distances so great that only the speed of light can be used as a
measuring line, you discover vast numbers of self-luminous bodies, which
you call stars. Your natural eye can tell but a small fraction of
their number. For example, look at the constellation you have named the
Pleiades and you see six or seven stars. View it through a three-inch
telescope and you can count perhaps three hundred. Now attach a
photographic plate to the telescope, and with an exposure of four hours
the light coming from that small patch of sky falls upon the sensitive
film with a cumulative effect until you have a picture of more than two
thousand three hundred stars.”

“Yes,” broke in the doctor, “you are gauging correctly the state of our
knowledge. Our largest telescopes reveal in the entire sky, it is said,
one hundred million stars.”

“Then,” answered Thorwald, “if the glories of the heavens were made
merely to delight the eye of man, why was not the eye created of
sufficient power to behold them? As it is, only a small proportion of
the stars can be seen without the aid of instruments too costly and too
delicate for general use.

“But have you the means of establishing any likeness between the
earth and those distant bodies? You have discovered that the law of
gravitation is universal and that the motions of the stars resemble
those of the solar system. Have you made any discoveries tending to
prove the existence of other systems like our own?”

“Yes,” replied the doctor, “our recent investigations of the periods of
some of the variable stars show irregularities in brightness, period,
and proper motion. A close study of these irregularities has convinced
some of our astronomers that there are invisible bodies near them,
evidently planets circling around a central sun. The theory is that the
dark bodies cause slight perturbations in the star, which account for
the irregularities in period, motion, etc. So Neptune was discovered
by the effect it had upon the observed movements of Uranus. This is the
first evidence we have had tending to prove that there are other groups
of worlds like ours, and it is considered quite significant.”

“I can readily believe it,” said Thorwald, “and I know how helpful every
bit of evidence is, in your search for knowledge. But if I mistake not
you have the aid of another instrument, which is destined to play an
important part in your future studies. You get much nearer those distant
orbs when a spectroscope is placed at the end of the telescope, and
the ray of light coming from sun and star is widened out into a band
of color, which tells a marvelous story. That light, that has been for
years, and perhaps for centuries, on its way to you, now discloses the
very nature of the substances which compose those fiery globes. And what
are those substances? It must have been a startling truth to the man
who first read from the spectrum of the star he was studying, that it
contained matter with which he was familiar, materials of which the
earth itself is made. By this science you have learned beyond doubt that
many of the commonest elements of the earth’s crust exist also in other
worlds, and, what is of great significance, that the materials most
closely connected with living organisms on the earth, such as hydrogen,
sodium, magnesium, and iron, are the very ones which are found most
widely diffused among the stars. I think I am not wrong in assuming that
you are somewhat acquainted with the spectroscope and have made these

“You are quite right,” said the doctor. “This branch of scientific
investigation has already been carried so far with us, and the results
of the experiments are so constant and uniform, that when it is
asserted, for example, that such and such a metal is present in a state
of vapor in the sun’s atmosphere, it is estimated that the chances in
favor of the correctness of the assertion are as 300,000,000 to 1.”

“You are helping my argument, Doctor,” resumed Thorwald. “But now let
me call your attention to another field of inquiry, in our search for
evidence to establish a likeness between the earth and the other parts
of the universe. You told me, a while ago, that you have the fall of
meteorites on your globe. Have you considered the striking evidence they
bring you? Let us imagine we have a meteoric fragment here. Take it in
your hand and think of it a moment. You have few things on your earth as
interesting as this piece of metallic stone. What a world of questions
it starts! What is its composition? Whence comes it? Once it was in
existence, but not here. Where, then, was its home? Out, out in the
depths of space, where burning suns roll and comets have their dwelling
place. The stars have fallen indeed, and here is one of the pieces.
Before it came to us as a messenger from the sky did it have an
independent existence, or is it a fragment of a shattered world? How
long has it been whirling in its unknown orbit, and what story has it
for us from its distant birthplace? If we can discover whence meteorites
come, and of what they are composed, I think you will agree with me that
they furnish valuable testimony in our inquiry. You have no doubt had
many theories as to their origin.”

I was just about to make answer to this implied question, when Thorwald
rose and eagerly scanned the horizon. After a moment he exclaimed:

“We shall have to break off our conversation for a time, as we are
nearing our port. I knew by other means that land must soon appear, and
now I can see it.”



The doctor and I looked in the direction indicated and speedily realized
that the superiority of the dwellers on Mars extended to the sense of
sight, for we could see nothing. But we were sailing so swiftly that the
shore we were approaching was before very long brought within our vision
also, and among the alert crew, who were now preparing to bring the
vessel into its harbor, there could be none so interested in what was to
come as the doctor and myself. We were to see what had been accomplished
by a race of whose perfections we had been hearing so much.

As we effected a landing and walked up the streets of the city, we were
not nearly so much impressed with the size and beauty of the buildings
and the appearance of the people as we were by the spirit of absolute
peace and quiet which prevailed. With perfect skill, and without noise
or bustle, the ship was brought to its dock and the crew went ashore.
The screams and calls, the rattle of vehicles and the babel of sounds we
had been accustomed to on such occasions, were all missing. The silence
and order were almost oppressive because they were so strange. But there
was no lack of activity among the immense creatures who thronged around
us. Everyone was busy, knowing apparently just what to do without
direction from others, and just the best way to do it. Beings with lungs
powerful enough to wake the mountain echoes went about with mild and
tuneful voices, and, though each one seemed possessed of a giant’s
strength, no severe labor was required of any.

The streets and walks were paved with a soft material, yielding slightly
to pressure, but so firm and tough that it showed no sign of wear, an
ideal pavement, over which the wheels rolled as noiselessly as they
would over a velvet carpet. It was, moreover, laid in beautiful patterns
of the most varied colors. The vehicles, of which there were many kinds
for different uses, were so faultlessly made that they moved with the
utmost quiet and apparent ease, the power that propelled them being
invisible. There were no tracks or wires, but all were guided in any
direction and with any speed at the pleasure of the riders.

Thorwald led me from the vessel, and another stalwart son of Mars took
charge of the doctor. After walking a few steps up the street we all
stepped into an empty carriage without saying as much as “by your
leave,” Thorwald touched a button, and we were off.

“This,” said Thorwald, “is one of the best illustrations of the manner
in which we are applying electricity. You saw them also unloading the
heavy freight from the boat by the same power. So all our work is done.
No fleshly limb is strained, no conscious life is burdened, by any
of the labor of our complex society. This subtle force is so well
controlled and its laws are so thoroughly understood that it is equal to
every demand.”

“I am entranced, Thorwald,” said the doctor, “with everything I see. But
I would like to ask if you own this comfortable carriage and had it sent
to the wharf to meet you.”

“I own it,” our friend replied, “just as I own the street we are riding
over or the house I live in. I own this or any other vehicle whenever
I desire to use it. You saw a great number of carriages near the wharf,
and there are several over on that corner. Anyone is at perfect liberty
to appropriate one to his own use at any time, and when he is through he
merely leaves it at a convenient place by the roadside for some one else
to take.”

“I should think they would be stolen,” said I.

Thorwald laughed at my ignorance and answered: “Why, who is there to
steal when everybody, either friend or stranger, can use them as often
and as long as he likes?”

The talk promised to grow more interesting still, but now our attention
was turned to the delightful scene through which we were passing. It
will be utterly impossible to describe the beauty of the landscape,
where nature and art seemed to be striving to outdo each other. Before
reaching land I had imagined that the houses, if they were to be
proportioned to the inhabitants, must pierce the sky. But we were
surprised to find that they were all comparatively low, of not more
than two or three stories. And all, even those near the wharf, were
surrounded with ample grounds. Some of the houses were larger than
others, some more ornate than their neighbors, and the architecture
varied as much as the size and arrangement of the grounds. But all were
beautiful beyond description. One thing that appeared very strange to us
was that the prevailing color of the vegetation was red, although
that shade did not predominate as much as green does on the earth. For
instance, after we had admired a stretch of lawn brilliant as a crimson
sky, we would come to another which would surprise and please us with a
lovely shade of blue. Still another was green, and then one glowed with
a variety of colors, whose combination showed a most refined taste. As
with the grass, so it was with the foliage of the trees. The richest
tints of our autumnal forests were here present in permanence, but with
a much greater wealth of coloring. Flowers, too, of every hue and form
were to be seen on all sides, and their appearance was so perfectly
natural that if they had been set with design then the art itself had
concealed the art of their arrangement.

With all this mass of color there were no unpleasant contrasts, no
discordant tones. As, amid the bustle of the landing place, our ears had
not been shocked with rude noises, so now we received through our eyes
only a delightful sense of quiet beauty.

Riding, now slowly and now more rapidly, through such a scene, we could
think of nothing better to question our friend about, so the doctor
found his voice and said:

“This far surpasses our anticipations, Thorwald, and I am sure this
place must be exceptional, even on Mars. I suppose it is a resort where
some of your wealthy people have built themselves homes in which to
enjoy their leisure months.”

“Nothing of the kind,” replied Thorwald. “These people live here all
the year, they are not wealthy, and there is nothing to distinguish this
city above others.”

“Why, this seems more like a private park than a city. Where are your
crowded streets and houses for the poor?”

“After all I have told you of our high civilization, Doctor, do you not
understand that we have long since abolished poverty?”

“Yes,” answered the doctor, “I understand that in a general way; but I
did not suppose everybody was rich, as it is certain everybody must be
to own such palaces as these.”

“You are still wrong,” said Thorwald. “We have no such distinctions as
rich and poor. All our cities are of this character, only there is great
variety in the residences and in the way in which the streets and lots
are laid out. These places that we are passing are inferior to many,
but no houses are built that are at all mean or uncomfortable. Indeed,
I think we have to-day passed some of the poorest that I know of. As
to the word city, we use it only as a convenient expression. It really
means nothing more than a certain locality, for, as I told you at the
beginning of our conversation, we have no need of government of any
kind. In some sections one city runs into another, so that the whole
country is filled with the beauty and delight of the landscape which you
see about you.”

“But,” asked the doctor, “with the population spread out in this
marvelous way, is there room for everybody?”

“Oh, yes,” answered Thorwald. “All the surface of our planet is brought
into use; the waste places are reclaimed, and there is abundant room for
all. And now, as this pleasant air and easy motion seem to be agreeable
to you, we may as well ride slowly for a while longer.

“In your intercourse with us you will find it is never necessary for us
to hurry when, for any good reason, we choose to loiter, and, therefore,
if you care to hear me talk, I will take the time to correct another
wrong impression you seem to have.

“You spoke, Doctor, about the people owning these houses. No one owns

“Do they belong to the state?” asked the doctor.

“There is no state.”

“Well, this is a curious condition of affairs,” resumed the doctor.
“Here is valuable property belonging to no one and no government
to claim it. I should think anyone that happened along could take

“Now you are right,” said Thorwald. “That is just the state of the case.
It is with houses and all other property as I told you it was with this
carriage. All the right one has to any object is the right to use it.
Everything that has been produced by art and skill is just as free as
the bounties of nature, such as air and water and land, which of course
no one would ever dream of subjecting to private ownership.”

The doctor winced as he heard Thorwald include land among these free
bounties of nature, and the expression of his face did not escape the
quick eye of the Martian, who exclaimed:

“So you earth-dwellers are still in the habit of buying and selling
land, are you?”

“That was the practice when we left home,” replied the doctor. “And I
cannot understand how we can do differently. Your views of property are
so strange to us that I am sure my companion will join me in asking you
to explain them more fully.”

“I certainly do,” I said.

“Property,” began Thorwald, “we do not have, but we have many of the
rights of proprietorship in the things we use from time to time. And
what other benefit than the free use of what we need could be derived
from the possession of things? Suppose I, for example, owned a thousand
acres of land and a hundred fine mansions. I could cultivate but a small
part of the land and occupy but one house at a time, and of what value
would the remainder be?”

“Would not such palaces as these on this beautiful street bring a good
rent?” I inquired.

“Don’t be stupid,” replied Thorwald good-naturedly. “You must know
by this time that we are not a race of self-seekers, each one taking
advantage of the necessity of his neighbor. But I suppose it is
difficult for you to appreciate a state of society in which each
individual considers the feelings and needs of others as much as his
own. With us this principle is not preached any more, but it is actually
practiced in all our affairs.”

“I will try to keep that in mind,” I said, “although it is a fact I can
hardly realize. But about this matter of houses I want to make another
inquiry. After you have become established in a beautiful home to which
you have no more right than anyone else, what is to prevent some other
man (I use the word for convenience) coming forward and asking you to
give it up to him?”

“Nothing,” answered Thorwald. “In such a case I should immediately move
out and let him have it, knowing he must be entirely unselfish in the
matter and that there must be some sufficient reason for the request.”

“But would you go to all the trouble of moving without even knowing his

“Yes, I would do it to accommodate him, but then the trouble would be
nothing. We would merely have to go out and take another house.”

“But would you not have to move all the furniture?”

“Oh, no. We could take anything we pleased, of course, but it is not
usual to make radical changes. Another house would contain all that was
desirable. As a matter of fact, however, such removals are by no means
frequent. We usually remain in one place and acquire all the tender
associations of home which could be possible under any system. But if
a family should increase so that it would be better for them to take a
larger house, they could easily find one, or if not they would ask those
who are fond of that work to build one to their taste. The moment a
thing is made or produced it belongs to the general store, to be used by
any and all who need it.”

“Under such conditions,” said I, “what we call the eighth commandment
would be superfluous.”

“If that refers to theft,” answered Thorwald, “you are certainly right,
for it is impossible to steal where everything is free.

“It will be well for you to understand how happily we have solved this
question of property, but of course we could not have found such a
solution until we had first reached a high spiritual plane and learned
the lesson of true brotherhood. From your words I know just about the
point in our development which corresponds with the present state of
your race, and therefore I know something of the nature of the struggle
through which the earth is now passing. I warn you that the unrestricted
right of private ownership is a menace to your civilization, all the
greater because its evil is probably not clearly seen. We are assured
by our historians, who try to point out the causes for all the great
convulsions in our career, that excessive individualism in property
rights, with its selfish disregard of others, was a potent factor in the
downfall of many of the enlightened nations of our antiquity. We have
noticed that even our animals have the instinct of possession, and it is
certain that the love of ownership and accumulation has been one of the
hardest evils to eradicate from our naturally selfish nature. If you
should ever return to the earth, do not neglect to signal for this

“But what is the remedy?” asked the doctor. “The system of which you
have been speaking might be called the mainspring of our society. I can
hardly imagine what we should be without it. With our note of warning,
what message of help will you send?”

“Doctor,” answered Thorwald, “it pleases me to hear you ask that
question, and I am rejoiced also that I have so good an answer for you.
The remedy is to be found in the law of love. Follow that law as closely
as possible. The way will be hard, the progress slow, but every step
taken will be a solid advance. It is the only safe road, and you will
find that every other will lead to disappointment and disaster.”

Whenever Thorwald struck these high spiritual themes he spoke with such
enthusiasm and positiveness that our respect for him increased rapidly.



All this time we had been riding leisurely along, enraptured with the
delightful country, while the way itself and the estates on either hand
offered such variety of landscape that the view never became tiresome
nor uninteresting.

But as the day was waning, our friends quickened the pace and showed us
a burst of speed. This was most exhilarating, and soon brought us to
the station where Thorwald told us we were to take an express train for
home, which was about two hundred miles distant.

When we alighted we left our carriage by the roadside among many others,
and entered an immense building. Both inside and out there were plenty
of people moving around, but without noise or unpleasant bustle. With no
delay, and also with no haste, we entered what appeared to be a smaller
apartment opening out of the general waiting-room. It had the appearance
of an elegant drawing-room, the rich but comfortable-looking furniture
being disposed in a careless manner, which helped to make us feel at
home, if anything could bring us that sensation. There was a door at
each end of the room, and soon these were closed and we felt an almost
imperceptible jar. The doctor glanced hastily at Thorwald and said:

“Can it be possible that we are to travel in this apartment?”

“Yes,” answered Thorwald, “this is our modern traveling coach, and
we are already on our way to the city in which my friend here and I

This latter fact surprised us, for we could not perceive by our senses
that we were in motion. But as we sat wondering and trying to imagine
ourselves flying through space, the doors opened, a pleasant breeze
fanned our cheeks, and the doors closed again, we felt that slight jar
repeated, and then we were quiet once more. This occurred every two or
three minutes, and, remembering what Thorwald had previously told us, we
realized that we were riding in a perfectly tight car in a vacuum tube
and that these short but frequent stops were to keep us supplied with
fresh air.

Thorwald explained this to us again, and told us that the coaches were
of different sizes to accommodate large or small parties, and that one
could ride alone if he chose to. The cars started so frequently that it
was seldom necessary to wait more than a few minutes. The doctor thought
there must be great liability to accident, but Thorwald said:

“No, we do not consider the risk worth taking into account. Let me
illustrate with a familiar example. Suppose you had just seen a cable
tested with a ton’s weight without a strain. Should you fear to take
hold of the cable and lift yourself from the ground lest it might break
and you should fall? The mechanism of this road is just as sure as that.
The force that is driving us forward is no longer mysterious. The laws
of electricity are well defined, and its mighty power is under perfect
control. Nothing is left to chance, and the result is that there have
been no accidents for many, many years, and practically speaking there
cannot be any.”

When we first entered the coach we noticed that there were no windows,
and as the doors had no glass we wondered why it was not dark. The light
was good broad daylight, exactly like that which fills a room when there
are good windows, but where the direct rays of the sun do not enter;
and, as we could see no lamps nor fixtures, we could not understand how
the illumination could be artificial. But such it was. We carried
an electric battery with us, and the lamps were out of sight, and so
arranged that they gave us only reflected light. The system was so
perfect that the imitation sunlight was just as good as the real, as far
as we could discover.

“This is the way we light all our interiors,” said Thorwald, “and of
course the apparatus is so governed that we can have any amount of
illumination we please, little or much.”

The doctor was about to ask some question in relation to this practical
improvement, when he was stopped by hearing a little silver-toned bell
ring. In an instant the doors opened, and Thorwald rose and announced
that we had reached the end of our journey. We could not have been in
the car more than fifteen minutes, and the doctor and I supposed our
ride of two hundred miles had just begun.

“Well, if you travel at this rate,” said the doctor, “I do not wonder
you have obliterated all national boundaries, for the ends of the world
are right at your doors. And now, Thorwald, I would like to see the
great tube through which we have been carried so swiftly.”

Thorwald smiled a little and led the way through another superb
waiting-room out into the open air. Here the doctor looked in all
directions, but could see nothing of the object for which he was

“You have seen all any of us can see,” said Thorwald.

“We merely step into the comfortable car, sit a few minutes, step out
again, and go home. In the meantime we have been carried under ground
and under water, across valleys and through hills, but the way itself,
the tube through which the car flies, is entirely hidden from sight.
Where it is above ground, trees and shrubbery screen it from view, so
that it does not mar the landscape. We think much of this, and should
regret exceedingly if it became necessary for any such utilitarian
object to interfere with our aesthetic enjoyment of nature.”

Thorwald’s friend now took leave of us, expressing the hope that
he would soon see us again. He had taken some little part in our
conversation, but had left the burden of it to Thorwald, who was older,
and who was, moreover, our first acquaintance.

It seemed singular to the doctor and me that we had attracted so little
attention among the people whom we had encountered since leaving the
ship. To give the reason for this, which we afterwards discovered, is
to reveal one of the pleasantest peculiarities of the Martian
character--that is, the entire absence of a disagreeable curiosity. Our
dress and appearance and the rather novel circumstances connected with
our arrival on the planet, which must quickly have become known,
were certainly calculated to excite their interest, and in a similar
situation on the earth there is no telling what might have happened to
us from a curious mob. But here all was order and quiet. Everybody went
about his own business and treated our party with additional respect,
it seemed, because some of us were strangers. We found out later how
anxious all these people were to learn everything about us, but they
were content to wait till the knowledge should come to them in a proper

Thorwald now selected a light, pretty carriage, and after a brisk ride
through another charming avenue and up a steep hill, we alighted at the
door of a noble mansion whose majestic proportions were in harmony
with the wide, open plateau upon which it stood alone. Upon entering,
Thorwald was at once affectionately greeted by his wife, and while he
was introducing us as natives of another world his son and daughter came
bounding toward him from an adjacent room.

These were quite small children, but in a few moments Thorwald brought
in from another part of the house a young woman of about my age,
apparently, and introduced her as a neighbor. It needed but a glance to
tell us that she was beautiful as a dream, and she moved about with that
exquisite grace which comes only from the highest culture. She spoke
to us with such ease and naturalness that we were at once relieved from
whatever embarrassment the circumstances might easily occasion.

“Antonia is our very dear friend,” said Thorwald, “and, although she
hides her curiosity so well, you will find her an exceedingly interested
listener to your history and adventures.”

“Yes,” said the charming voice of Antonia, “Thorwald has told me just
enough about you to make me want to know more. Your moon, which is so
much larger than our little satellites, caused a great sensation when it
was seen coming toward us so rapidly. The situation was well calculated
to cause us anxiety, if we had been subject to such a feeling, but, as
usual with us at the present day, it has turned out to our advantage;
for it has given us two such worthy representatives of a neighboring

“I am sure,” I answered, “that the advantage is greatly on our side.”

I could not say more, for I was conscious that the doctor was watching
closely to see how I was affected by the presence of this royal girl.
When he saw I was inclined to be somewhat quiet he felt impelled to say
something, and offered the following compromising remark:

“If we had only brought Mona safely off the moon with us, you would have
had something more worthy of your interest than we are, and my friend
here also would now be in better spirits.”

Antonia had a question in her eyes but her perfect breeding kept her
from putting it into words, after the final expression of the doctor’s
speech. Of course, I could not ignore the allusion, and said:

“Mona is a friend of the doctor’s whom I have not the pleasure of
knowing. I suppose he thinks her cheerful disposition, of which I have
heard before, would make our present situation even more enjoyable than
it is. Speaking for myself, however, I think that would be impossible.”

With that she rose, and, with a pleasant word of adieu to us, told
Thorwald she would come in another day after we were well rested.

It was now approaching night-fall and dinner was to be speedily
announced. The doctor and I were shown to a suite of dressing-rooms, and
as soon as we were alone he said:

“Do you think Antonia is as handsome as Mona?”

“If you will show me Mona I shall then be able to judge. But how did
I carry myself on my first introduction to a daughter of Mars? Do
you think I am in any danger of putting her in Margaret’s place in my

“Perhaps not,” replied the doctor. “You kept command of yourself
pretty well; but I think the secret of that is that you have not quite
forgotten Mona.”

“Excuse my frankness, Doctor, but I must tell you I am getting a little
tired of Mona. I wish I might never hear her name again. If I can resist
the charms of such an exquisite bundle of perfections as Antonia is,
do you think I am likely to be overcome by a mocking-bird of your

“If you could only hear the voice of that bird once more,” replied the
doctor, “you would soon begin to sing another tune. But let us go down
if you are ready, and not keep them waiting.”

We had looked forward with much interest to our first meal in one of
these sumptuous houses, and, moreover, being quite hungry, we were glad
to find that we were just in time to sit down. If we had felt any
fear lest the absence of meat would make a meager bill of fare, the
experience of the next hour relieved us. The dishes were all strange,
but highly palatable, and the fact that there was nothing that appeared
to be in the least unwholesome did not detract from the delicious
savor which every viand possessed. The rich variety of courses and the
elegance of the service made it a dinner long to be remembered, and gave
a new zest to our life on Mars.

It had been a long day to us, and we were allowed to retire at an early
hour, being conducted to adjacent and communicating rooms. But, though
our fatigue was great, it is not strange that we lay awake awhile,
talking of the wonderful things we had seen and heard. Speaking of the
Martian method of rapid transit the doctor said:

“Besides its expedition, there is another feature to recommend their way
of traveling.”

“What is that?”

“Why, there is no danger of getting a seat just behind a window fiend.”

“There is something in that,” I answered, “but I am thinking just now
of our dinner. We must certainly learn how to cook eggs and vegetables
before we return to the earth.”

The character of our conversation, judged from these scraps, shows that
we had no excuse for remaining awake any longer.



Next morning we arose early, but found the family already up. Thorwald
seemed disposed to lose no time in showing and telling us everything
interesting, and so invited us at once to the top of the house, to take
a view of the country. The sun was just rising, and its pleasant rays
lighted up a scene of surpassing beauty. We seemed to be set in the
middle of a vast park, whose boundaries extended in all directions as
far as we could see. The landscape presented the most varied character,
wood and water, hill and plain, and every feature needed to make a
most delightful picture. Not the least of its charms, and perhaps
the greatest, was the profusion of color, which filled the vision and
satisfied the sense of beauty with its contrasts and its harmonies. Some
of the hills might justly be called mountains, and yet on the rugged
sides as well as on the summit of each were grand mansions surrounded by
cultivated fields.

The doctor made some remark about this latter fact, and Thorwald said:

“These situations, which would be almost inaccessible without the aid
of electricity, are now the favorite sites for building. This wonderful
power levels all hills in the ease with which it does its work. No task
is too hard for it and it asks no sympathy, so we may as well ride and
carry our freight up hill, if we prefer it, and build our houses on the
mountain tops. One characteristic of our nature has not changed, and
there is still a great variety of taste, so that plenty of people choose
the lower land to build upon. I see by your faces that you both admire
this panorama and think we were wise to place our house on such high
ground. We like to have our friends take this view in the morning, when
the world has been freshened by the night’s rain.”

“Is it not just as beautiful at sunset after a shower?” I asked.

“Oh,” answered Thorwald, “I haven’t told you that it never rains in the
day-time, have I?”

“No, indeed, that’s another surprise for us. But how is it managed?”

“You will remember I told you,” said Thorwald in reply, “that it was
found that rain enough fell for all parts of the world if it could only
be rightly distributed. Then when we had discovered by a long series of
experiments how to make the clouds shed their water at our pleasure, we
set about devising a means whereby we could give each section the right
quantity of rain at just the right time.

“We established a central bureau in each country and let the people in
every city or district vote and send in their request for a shower or
a long rain ten days in advance. At first it required only a majority
vote, but this occasioned no end of trouble, as half the community would
often believe they were suffering for want of rain when the other
half wanted fair weather. Then the rule was changed so as to make a
three-quarters vote necessary, which did not help matters much, for very
often the crops would be seriously damaged before so large a proportion
of the people could be brought to see the desirability of a rainy day.

“At length the happy thought was conceived of letting it rain over each
part of the country every night, and giving the right to vote only on
the quantity desired. This keeps everything fresh and has been found of
immense benefit to vegetation. Besides, it inconveniences no one, in the
present state of our society, however it might have been when the plan
was first adopted.”

“What of those people,” I asked, “whose occupation or pleasure calls
them out in the night?”

“We have no such class,” replied Thorwald. “We have found by long
experience that it is best to follow the indication of nature, and
take the day for labor and the night for rest. This practice and the
attention devoted to our diet have been chief factors in lengthening the
span of our lives. If this line of action is best for one it is best for
all, and, as everybody is doing the best he can, it follows that there
are literally no people out at night.”

“I suppose you would call me stupid again,” said I, “if I should ask if
you have any such old-time personages as guardians of the peace.”

“Indeed I should,” answered our friend, “for you ought to know us
better. If you will excuse a poor witticism, the peace is old enough on
our planet to go without a guardian.”

As we smiled at this the doctor was encouraged to try his hand, but, not
feeling equal to addressing a pleasantry to the usually august Martian,
he turned to me and remarked:

“This would be a pretty poor place for an umbrella trust, wouldn’t it?”

As we left our place of outlook and made our way down stairs, Thorwald

“As I have said before, we have reached our present happy condition
through many bitter experiences. We read that at one time people had so
much work to do and were so thoughtless as to what was good for their
physical welfare that they began to rob themselves of their proper rest.
Others found it convenient to follow occupations which obliged them to
work all night and get what sleep they could in the day-time. Night was
considered about the only time that could be utilized, also, for the
activities of social life.

“This condition lasted a long time, with the tendency continually
toward the practice of encroaching more and more upon the hours of rest
appointed by nature. It was then the period of making many laws, and
large and influential legislative bodies began to set a bad example to
the rest of the world by holding their sessions mainly in the night.
Newspapers thought it necessary to appear full-fledged at the break of
day, and the railroads made but little distinction between darkness and
daylight in the matter of carrying people hither and thither. The change
was slow, but it was in the wrong direction. Darkness was driven out by
more improved methods of lighting, and houses and streets were brilliant
the whole night long; and it finally became the fashion in both society
and business circles literally to turn night into day. For a time that
remained the universal custom, strange as it seems to us now, but the
practice of sleeping in the day-time never became natural. This means
that the whole world was living on from year to year without the amount
of rest required to keep the race alive. There could be but one result.
A brood of nervous troubles fell upon us; life began to shorten, and
we became aware that a serious crisis was before us. As soon as we were
convinced that we were bringing all this evil upon ourselves by our
disregard of the laws of nature, there was a change; and it is well
for us that there was still virility enough left in the race to make a
change possible. A gradual reform was instituted which, overcoming many
difficulties and delays but with no serious set-backs, brought us, after
long years, to our present happy way. Of course, our improvement in
every other direction, moral as well as physical, assisted us all along
in this reform. Now, looking back on our course, and comparing our
present with our former state, we are perfectly sure what is best for
us, and he would be a rash man who should intimate that we are not doing
right in using the night for rest.

“But this is getting to be quite a long talk for so early in the
morning. Let us see if breakfast is not ready.”

This meal proved to be as appetizing as the first, although the dishes
were entirely different; being made up, apparently, of fruit and

The doctor and I had been exceedingly interested in the way the dinner
of the evening before had been served. We did not understand it, and now
we were equally puzzled to see the breakfast courses come and go. No one
came in to make any change in the table, and our hostess seemed to
have as little to do with it as the rest of us. She presided with great
dignity, and, as I watched the changes going on with such perfect ease
and quiet, I could not refrain from saying:

“If it is proper for me to ask, will you tell us how this is done, Mrs.

“We do not use those titles now,” she interrupted. “Call me Zenith, the
name by which I was introduced to you. I suppose Thorwald has told you
that electricity does nearly all our work. I arrange things in order
before the meal begins, and then by merely touching a button under
the table the apparatus is set in motion which brings and takes away
everything in the manner you see.”

“It is wonderful,” I exclaimed. “And if we are to believe all that
Thorwald has told us, I suppose you have no servants for any department
of work.”

“You are not entirely right,” she returned. “We have excellent servants.
This obedient power, that does our work so willingly, is our servant,
and so is the mechanism with which our houses are filled, and through
which this silent force is exerted. Many of our animals are domesticated
and trained to do light services, but as for servants of our own flesh
and blood, no such class exists. We all share whatever work there is,
and no labor is menial. Whatever I ask others to do I am glad to do for
them when occasion offers. Do not suppose we are idle. There is work for
us, but with our abundant strength and continual good health it is never
a burden. Then there are the duties connected with our higher life and
education, for we are ever seeking to fit ourselves for a still better
existence than this.”

We had now finished breakfast and were walking through the house.
Zenith was a beautiful woman, although, from our point of view, of such
generous proportions. She possessed the perfect form and the vigor and
health of all the Martians. She was, moreover, graceful, modest, and
winning. But Thorwald and the other men that we had seen possessed these
latter qualities also, and Zenith exhibited the same strength of mind
and the same devotion to lofty aims as her husband. In their equipment
for the duties of life and in the ability to do valiant service for
their kind they seemed equal. Evidently neither had a monopoly of any
class of advantages, either of mind, body, or estate.



We discovered at once that the Mars dwellers understand what genuine
hospitality is, for we found ourselves at perfect liberty to do what
best pleased us without restraint from our hosts. With so much to tell
us of their own high civilization and with so many questions still to
ask about the earth, there was no haste nor undue curiosity. Much less
was there any attempt yet by Thorwald to resume the argument about the
habitability of other worlds.

But at the same time we were aware that our friends were at our service,
and early in the afternoon Thorwald asked us if we could think of
anything we should like to see.

“Yes,” I answered, “I should like to see the earth.”

“No doubt, my friend, but I don’t see exactly how I am going to take you

“I did not expect that,” said I; “but, after all you have hinted about
your advance in astronomical science, I thought you might give us a
pretty good view of the earth without going any nearer to it than we are

“Oh, that’s what you mean, is it? Excuse me for being so dull. Is it not
singular that I should wait to be asked to show you the wonders of our
telescopes? Zenith, let us all go with them to see their home, about
which we have so often speculated.

“We have many good observatories,” continued Thorwald, speaking to the
doctor and me, “some of which are noted for one line of study and some
for another. The one that has given the most attention to observing the
earth and that has the best instruments for that work is situated on the
other side of our planet.”

“Then, of course,” said I, “we will choose one nearer home for our

“Why so?” asked Thorwald. “It is always wise to get the best when you

“Yes, but we do not want you to take the time and trouble to make a
journey half around your world just because I said I would like to see
the earth.”

“Oh, our time is yours, and we will not make trouble of it; we will call
it a pleasure trip. We may as well take the children, Zenith; they will
enjoy it. How soon can you all be ready?”

“In five minutes,” answered Zenith.

“Then we had better get off at once,” said Thorwald.

And without further words this remarkable family scattered to different
parts of the house and in five minutes were ready to begin a journey of
five or six thousand miles, and the only reason they did not start at
once was that the doctor and I were not quite so expeditious. We were
soon on our way, however, having locked no doors behind us and leaving
everything just as if we were to return in an hour.

We took an electric carriage to the station, and from there went by the
tubular road to the metropolis. This was a great city whence there was
direct communication to all the principal centers of population on the
planet. As we had not been in any haste in making the changes necessary
to reach this stage of our journey, it was now late in the day, and I
began to wonder how we were to continue the trip without being out
in the night. When I mentioned my thought to Thorwald, he removed the
difficulty in a moment by saying:

“We simply travel west and leave the night behind us. You know the
surface of Mars, even at the equator, goes east at the rate of only five
hundred miles an hour, and as our modern cars take us much faster than
that, it is easy for us to keep ahead of the night by going in the right
direction. So in making long trips we try to travel west.”

“But suppose you want to go east?”

“Then we go west to get east, and we arrange the speed so as to get to
our destination in the day-time.”

We left our car and found another just ready to start for the distant
city in which our observatory was situated. It was a small car
comparatively, and we had it all to ourselves. There were all sorts of
conveniences in it, and we composed ourselves for a good rest. After a
ride of several hours we reached our destination. It was now about noon,
so that we had actually made nearly half a day, besides the time spent
in sleep while riding. I know some of my friends on the earth, who say
the day is too short for them, would appreciate such an improvement as
that if they could have it.

We passed part of the afternoon in riding about the city. The same
language was spoken here as was used on Thorwald’s side of the globe;
but, although communication was so easy, we found enough difference in
the architecture and in the general appearance of the people to make
travel interesting.

Toward night we all alighted at the door of the observatory, and the
doctor and I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of a man of
Mars who had spent many years in studying the surface of the earth. It
may be imagined that he was glad to meet us and to get our answers to
many questions which had long perplexed him, some of which he had never
hoped to have solved.

Proctor, for this was the name by which he was introduced, was one of
the oldest men we had seen, and impressed us as one possessed of great
wisdom. His manner was so dignified, also, that it seemed quite as
inappropriate to address him without a title as it was to call our
hostess plain Zenith. But when I asked Thorwald aside what I should call
him, he said:

“Call him by his name, just as you do the rest of us. We have but one
name each.”

“I should think that would be confusing,” said I. “For example, how are
you to be distinguished from any other Thorwald?”

“There is no other that I ever heard of. There are names enough to go
all around.”

As night came on we were brought face to face with the great instrument
whose work of observing the earth was known far and wide.

Proctor was occupied a short time in adjusting it, and then asked us if
we could recognize what was in the field. I motioned to the doctor, but
as he insisted that I should take the first view I put my eye to the
glass with much trepidation. Instead of the magnified disk of the earth,
which I expected to behold, I saw but a small portion of the surface,
and that a familiar stretch of coast line. I never knew whether Proctor
thought by our accent or by the cut of our clothes that we were New
Englanders, but he had so pointed the telescope that our first sight
of the earth showed us dear old Massachusetts Bay, with its islands and
boundaries. I did not speak till the doctor had looked, and then we told
the others of our pleasant surprise.

Proctor made another adjustment, saying he would bring the globe still
nearer to us, and we looked and saw a patch of beautiful green country.
It appeared to be but a few miles away, and we thought we ought to
distinguish large objects. But the appearance was deceptive in this
respect, and Proctor told us they had not been able to determine
definitely whether the earth was inhabited. They could see important
changes going on from time to time; they believed they could tell
cultivated from wild land; certain peculiar spots they called large
cities; and there were many such indications of inhabitants. But they
had not yet beheld man nor his unquestioned footsteps. As to their
belief on the subject, they had the strongest faith that the earth was
peopled by an intelligent race, and Proctor added that he rejoiced to
see that faith so happily justified by our presence. To which the doctor
pleasantly replied that he should be sorry to have him judge of the
intelligence of the race at large from two such inferior specimens.

One question which Proctor asked was, whether we had ever made any
attempt to communicate with the other planets. We told him we had not,
but that if we should ever try such a thing it would probably be with
Mars; but that it would be useless to think of it with our present
astronomical attainments, for if we should succeed in attracting the
attention of another world we would not know it, because we could not
see the answer.

Proctor said they had sometimes seen moving masses which were not
clouds, but which they took for smoke and were not sure but they might
be intended for signals. We replied that if it were smoke that they saw
it was probably caused by forest fires, but if we ever reached the earth
again we would organize a company and try to make some electric signals
which they could see.



It was late when the conversation closed, and Proctor said we were to
spend the night with him of course, and in the morning he would take
pleasure in introducing to us the other members of his household.

The residence buildings, beautiful and commodious structures, adjoined
the observatory, and to each of us was given a separate apartment. After
Proctor had left us, Thorwald came into my room a moment and I said to

“Proctor is a friend of yours, is he not?”

“Certainly,” answered Thorwald, “what could he be but a friend? But then
I never saw him before today.”

“Is it possible? Are strangers always treated so hospitably?”

“I see nothing unusual in his treatment of us. We are always at
perfect liberty to stay where ever night overtakes us, and it makes no
difference with the quality of the hospitality whether the guests are
acquaintances or not.”

The memory of that night will remain with me many years. Before falling
asleep I let my mind dwell on the singular circumstances in which we
were placed and the strange manner of our leaving the earth. I had never
experienced anything that seemed more real, and yet I could not make it
appear quite reasonable that we were in truth living on the planet Mars.
All I could say was that it was an instance where the facts were against
the theory, and I knew that in such cases it was always safest to
believe in the facts. I could distinctly remember each step of our
journey, and there could be no mistake about our present understanding.
What settled the question more firmly than ever was this thought: If we
were not on Mars, where were we? We must be somewhere.

By the time I had disposed of all my doubts I was becoming drowsy, and
then I began to think of the doctor and his unfortunate condition of
mind. This malady would doubtless increase and I should have to look
out for him, and at the same time fill the arduous position of the only
sound representative of our race in Mars. I resolved to try once more to
make my companion see how ridiculous his strange fancy was and realize
the danger of clinging to it.

With this thought my brain lost coherence, and I passed over the
invisible boundary into dreamland. It was a beautiful evening in summer.
I was at home among my friends and we were sitting in the open air. The
doctor was there, taking his turn with me in telling the story of our
adventures. This went on till our listeners were tired out, and then
one of the company gave a little variety to the occasion by singing a
capital song.

Here the scene changed to the country. It was morning in the woods. The
trees wore their spring foliage, bright flowers spread their beauty and
fragrance around us, and the air was filled with the music of birds. The
sweet notes of these songsters were by far the most vivid part of the
dream. Now loud, now soft, the unbroken melody absorbed our attention
and made it difficult for us to understand how our situation again
gradually changed, until the air became piercingly cold, the cruel wind
beat upon us furiously, and the violent elements seemed bent upon our

The doctor and I were alone, and the surroundings bore a strange
resemblance to the inhospitable surface of the moon. But what are those
sweet sounds still ringing in our ears? Sure no birds could live in
such a wild place. No, it is not a bird’s song. It is more like a human
voice. I thought I had never before heard music so pure and rich. But
wait--had I not heard something like it once before? There was a mystery
about it that enhanced its sweetness. Now I was really thinking, for
before I knew how it happened I found myself wide awake. The dream was
over, but, oh! wonderful dream, the best of it remained. My sense of
hearing, always acute, had waked long before and left my other faculties
to slumber on and dream out the unreal accompaniments of a real voice.
For now, with my eyes open and my mind released from sleep, I still
heard that marvelous, half-familiar song.

Could I be deceived? I determined to know beyond a doubt that I was
awake. I rose and, throwing on a dressing gown, turned up the light and
walked about the room. I looked in the mirror to see if my eyes were
open, and then ate a little fruit from a tempting dish that stood on the
table. In one corner of the room was an elegant writing desk. I opened
it, found its appointments complete, drew up a comfortable chair, and,
choosing pen and paper, determined to record my impressions for future
perusal, if by any means my memory should fail me. This is what I wrote:

“I, the undersigned, am in my private room in the house of Proctor, the
astronomer, province of ----, planet Mars. It is about the middle of
the night, precise date unknown. I am wide awake, in my usual health,
appetite good, heart a little fluttering but temperature and pulse
normal. I have been awakened from sleep by strains of distant music,
which mingled with my dreams but refused to be silenced when the rest
of the dreams melted away. Now, while I am writing, the delicious melody
fills my ears. I never before heard so sweet a voice, unless, indeed,
I have heard the same voice before. In regard to this I can form no
present opinion. I must take another time to consider it. Now I cannot
think, I am so engrossed in listening to the singer’s entrancing notes.
The song is so full of light and cheer and sends such beautiful thoughts
trooping through my brain that I wish it may go on forever.”

I signed my name to this with a firm hand, and then, as I leaned back
in my chair to close my eyes and drink in more deeply still this rare
enjoyment, darkness seemed to fall suddenly upon my spirit. The voice
ceased, and in a moment the last sweet echoes had died away.

I crept into bed as speedily as possible, to try to forget my sadness
in sleep. But oblivion would not be forced, and so I took what comfort
I could in thinking of that interrupted song, and in trying to feel over
again in memory that pleasure which my fleshly ears no longer gave me. I
could still recognize a distinct tinge of familiarity in the notes, but
when I came to the question of locating the singer I was utterly without
a clew. I knew well enough that there was no earthly voice which could
enter into the comparison, and so I need waste no time in going over
that part of my life. But I had heard no singing of any kind in Mars
before this night. How was it possible that I could have experienced
that delightful sensation before and not be able to fix the place or
time? It was a puzzling question, but I refused to give it up I knew the
song, and the memory of it warmed my heart with each recurring flash,
but the singer I did not know.

At length I fell asleep, and woke to find the sun of Mars shining
pleasantly upon my bed. I recalled at once the experience of the night
and confirmed my memory by finding on the desk the paper I had written,
and still there was enough suspicion in my mind of the reality of the
whole thing to make me anxious to know if the doctor had heard what had
so impressed me. But on going to find him I discovered that he had left
his room, and so it happened that we did not meet till the family came
together in the morning reception room, in preparation for breakfast.
Here Proctor presented us to his wife, Fronda, and his daughters, two
stately girls, whom he did not name. Thorwald and Zenith kindly helped
the doctor and me to answer the many questions which these new friends
were so eager to ask, so that, as breakfast proceeded, all became
engaged in the conversation. My own mind, however, was somewhat
preoccupied. I thought perhaps Thorwald might be in haste to depart for
home, and I was determined not to let the company separate till I had
made an attempt to discover who my midnight singer was. So, when there
came a convenient lull in the talk, I made bold to say:

“Can anyone present tell me who it was that woke me in the night ‘with
concord of sweet sounds’?”

A general smile passed around the table at this question, while Fronda
looked at me and said pleasantly,

“It must have been Avis. She is very fond of singing and considers all
hours her own. I hope it did not disturb your slumbers.”

“It was no disturbance, I assure you. But is Avis present? I should like
to thank her for the great pleasure she gave me.”

“No,” replied Fronda, “she took an early breakfast and started out for a
long walk.”

“Then I may as well tell you all about it,” I said.

And I related my dream and then read to them all the paper I had
written. Everyone listened with the greatest eagerness and showed more
interest, I thought, than the circumstances as I had related them called
for, but I afterwards learned that they had excellent reasons for it.

When breakfast was over I was glad to find that Thorwald seemed to be in
no haste to go home. I began to feel an intense longing to see Avis, and
I had planned, if Thorwald should insist on leaving too soon, to
propose to Proctor that I would stay a few days and assist him in the

The doctor and I soon found an opportunity to speak together privately,
and he began:

“So the voice of Avis was a little familiar to you?”

“Yes,” I replied, “but I am not able to tell from what niche in memory’s
hall it comes.”

“Does it recall anything you heard or saw on the moon?”

“That dreadful place? No, indeed,” I replied. “Are you going to bring up
Mona again?”

“You asked me never to mention that name again, and now you have spoken

“Well,” I asked, “will you forgive me for that foolish request if I will
let you talk to me about her now?”

“I am not anxious to talk about her,” the doctor answered, “especially
as I know the topic is not a pleasant one to you.”

Without noticing this last remark, I asked abruptly:

“Was Mona a good singer?”


“As good as Avis?”

“I think so, though I am not a critic.”

“Did I understand you to say she was handsome?”


“And I fell in love with her?”

“You had all the symptoms. But why do you insist on talking on such a
disagreeable subject? Come, let’s go and find Proctor.”

“Wait. One question more. Have you seen Avis?”


“Who is she?”

“I believe she is a friend of the family merely.”

“Does she live here?”

“She is staying here for the present.”

“Is she beautiful, too?”

“I shall leave you to be your own judge of that when you see her. Now,
not another question.”

“Well,” I said, as we started to find some of the others, “if the Mona
of your imagination gives you as much pleasure as Avis has given me
before I have seen her, I do not wonder that you cherish her memory.”

This conversation left me still more anxious to see Avis, and I looked
for her return every moment, but the morning passed and finally the day
wore to its close without bringing us together. I did not like to make
my strong desire known by asking after her, and, besides, I began to
have a slight suspicion that there was some design in keeping us from

When it was time to retire that night I took the doctor to my room, and
I think it was a surprise to both of us when we fell to talking about
Mona again. At my request the doctor related at considerable length our
experience on the moon, as he remembered it, and set Mona out in most
attractive style. I let him go on, without laughing at him as I had
formerly done, and the longer he talked the more serious and thoughtful
I became. As he told the details of our daily life, recalling many of
Mona’s words and actions, a new thought flashed through my mind--the
thought that possibly the doctor was right after all. At that instant,
when my interest was most intense, once more the distant echoes of that
happy song fell upon my ear.

That was the magic influence needed for my restoration. At once, and all
at once, down fell the walls that had so unhappily obscured my mental
vision, and left my memory clear as day. I jumped from my seat, seized
the doctor’s hand, and exclaimed:

“I see it all now, old fellow. You were right and I was the crazy one.”

“Good, I rejoice with you.”

With that voice coming nearer and pouring its melody upon us, we could
not say more at the time. I threw myself into a chair, let my head
fall back, and closed my eyes to enjoy it. The doctor, feeling it to be
better to let me think it out by myself, stole away and left me alone.

Alone, but not lonesome, for was not Mona with me? I could see her every
look and motion, and experienced with a great throb of the heart that my
love had only strengthened with my period of forgetfulness. I remembered
her last words, that very likely we would never see her again. But why
should not she be saved as easily as we were? What if she were even now
afloat in the ocean? But perhaps some one had rescued her. Could she
be in Mars and singing for other ears than mine? Singing! Why, who is
singing now, right here in this very house? Can it be possible? How
stupid I have been. Perhaps I can see her now.

I jumped up and rushed from the room, but was no sooner outside my door
than the voice began to die again, and in a moment the last notes had
floated away. I could not determine from which direction the song had
come and had no clew to guide me toward the singer. It was very late and
all the house was quiet. Unable to pursue my quest, I reentered my room,
but it was hours before I could compose my mind sufficiently to sleep.
The possible joy that awaited me in the morning, the dreadful fear
that I should be disappointed, the violent beating of my heart at every
thought of Mona, and my anxiety lest she might even now be exposed to
danger somewhere, all combined to keep me excited and restless the whole
night long. As I lay tossing and thinking, my most serious doubt was
occasioned by the reflection that people of such exalted morals would
not deceive me by declaring that this singer’s name was Avis if it were
not true. But then I thought further that the doctor had given Mona the
name by which we knew her, and that Fronda would have just as much right
to give her a new name. Perhaps her real name after all was Avis.

When the welcome morning came I found the doctor and gave him a hearty
grasp to show him that there had been no lapse in my mental condition,
but I asked him to say nothing to Thorwald just at present about my
recovery. Then we hurried down to the reception room and, early as it
was, found most of the household already there. After looking eagerly
around and seeing only those whom I had previously met, I inquired, with
as little apparent concern as possible:

“Hasn’t Avis appeared? I thought she was an early riser.”

To which Fronda quickly replied:

“Oh, Avis was up half an hour ago, and asked me to excuse her to the
company, saying she was going to spend the morning with a friend she met

This was a hard blow for me, and it was with difficulty that I
restrained my impatience, but I was a little consoled with the idea that
the morning only was to be consumed by this visit, and that we might
look for a return by noon.

After breakfast, when Proctor had gone to the observatory and Fronda
and her daughters were showing Zenith about the house, the doctor begged
Thorwald to resume the talk begun on board the ship, which had
been interrupted by the discovery of land. As Thorwald expressed a
willingness to comply, the doctor continued:

“You were trying to convince me of the probability of life in other
worlds besides the earth and Mars, and in your attempt to show a
likeness between the earth and other parts of the universe, you were
speaking on the interesting subject of meteorites.”

“I remember,” answered Thorwald, “I was just asking you what theory you
of the earth hold on that important topic.”



“If the doctor,” I said, “will pardon me, I will say, in relation to
the origin of meteorites, that our scientific men have held from time
to time many different theories. Some have believed that they are
aggregations of metallic vapors which, meeting in the atmosphere,
solidify there and fall, just as watery vapors solidify and come down in
the form of hailstones. Others have held that they are thrown out from
the center of the earth by volcanic action; and others still that they
all came from the moon when her volcanoes were active. These latter
theories imply that the meteorites in immense quantities are revolving
around the earth, and that occasionally they become entangled in her
atmosphere and fall to the surface.

“And now, Thorwald, I am tempted to repay all your great kindness to us
with an act of ingratitude, nothing less than the relation of a story.”

This rather foolhardy speech of mine made the doctor wince, and I am not
sure but he began to fear that my mind was weakening in a new direction.
But I had my own excuse for my action, which I felt that I could explain
to him at some future time. The fact is, I was so disturbed in my mind
about Mona and was anticipating so much from meeting the so called Avis,
that I thought I could never sit still all the morning and listen to a
dry scientific discussion. It seemed to me that I could stand it better
if I could do part of the talking myself, and so I took advantage of the
subject before us to propose relating an extravagant tale that I once
had heard.

In contrast with the doctor’s frowns, Thorwald showed a lively
appreciation and insisted that I should be heard.

“Not another word from me,” he said, “till we have had the story.”

With such encouragement, it was easy for me to proceed.

“I fear you will be disappointed,” I said, “for what I have rashly
called a story is only a fancy founded on the idea that the meteorites
were at some time shot out of the volcanoes of the moon. I had it from a
friend of mine, whose mind is evidently more open to the notion of life
in other worlds than is that of my companion here. As the story was
written long before the moon came down to visit the people of the
earth in their own home, the writer did not have the advantage of the
discoveries made by the doctor and myself, and it is well for me that
the doctor’s friend, Mona, is not here to disprove any of my statements.

“On account of the smaller volume of the moon, the attraction of
gravitation on its surface is only one-quarter that of the earth, and it
is estimated that, if a projectile were hurled from the moon with two or
three times the velocity of a cannon ball, it would pass entirely beyond
her attraction and be drawn to the earth, reaching it at the rate of
some seven miles a second.

“Now we all know--this is the way the story runs--that the moon was once
inhabited by a highly intelligent race. They tell us it is a cold, dead
world now, not at all fit for inhabitants. But that is because its day
is passed. Being so much smaller than the earth it cooled off quicker,
and its life-bearing period long since found its end. Men have often
speculated on the idea that our race will one day fail and the time come
when the last generation shall pass away and leave the earth a bare and
ugly thing, to continue yet longer its lonely, weary journey around a
failing sun. That day the moon has seen. That direful fate the race of
moon men have experienced. Some poor being, the last of his kind, was
left sole monarch of a dying world, and with the moon all before him
where to choose, chose rather to die with the rest and leave his world
to cold and darkness.

“From our own experience we do not know how high a state of civilization
can be reached by giving a race all the time that is needed. But we know
that before the inhabitants of the moon passed off the stage they had
attained to the highest possible degree of intelligence. They began
existence at a very low plane, developed gradually through long periods
of time--there has never been any haste in these matters--and when they
had reached their maturity as a race of intellectual and moral beings,
primitive man was just beginning on the vast undertaking of subduing the
earth, a task not yet accomplished.

“The incident I propose to relate occurred in antediluvian times, when
there were giants in the earth who lived a thousand years. Then matter
reigned, not mind. It was the age of brawn. Everything material existed
on a gigantic scale, and man’s architectural works, rude in design but
well adapted for shelter and protection, were proportioned to his own
stature and rivaled the everlasting hills in size and solidity. And they
needed something substantial for protection, for war was their business
and their pass time. They lived for nothing but to fight. It was brother
against brother, neighbor against neighbor, tribe against tribe; and the
man who could not fight, and fight hard, had no excuse for living. War
was not an art, but a natural outburst of brutal instincts. A giant
glories in his strength and cultivates it as naturally as a bird its
song. But it is pleasant to consider the fact that as man’s mental
and moral qualities have developed his body has become smaller. As the
necessity for that immense physical strength gradually passed away,
nature, abhorring such unnecessary waste of material, applied to us her
inexorable laws whereby a thing or a state of things no longer useful
slowly fades away, and our bodies accommodated themselves to new

“But in those early times men needed great physical strength and long
life to bring the world into subjection, and until that was done they
could give little attention to the cultivation of the finer qualities
of their incipient manhood. They were handicapped by the fact that the
lower animals had had the earth to themselves a few million years, more
or less, and no puny race could ever have driven them to the wall.

“At length, when the conflict was well nigh over, with victory in sight,
men had abandoned the struggle and were using all their fierce strength
in fighting each other. This had been going on so long and with such
deadly results that it seemed as if the race must be exterminated unless
some superior power could step in from the outside and prevent it.

“We can easily understand that there was no such thing as science then.
Men considered the sun, for example, only as a very useful thing which
brought them light with which they could see their foe, and the moon as
a mysterious object sent to make the night a little less dark. Sun
and moon and shining stars were all set in the sky for them, and went
through their wonderful and complicated movements solely for their

“But what was the real condition of things on the moon at that
time? Why, there was a race of people there of such intelligence and
scientific attainments that they were seeing plainly enough everything
that was taking place on the earth. This will not appear very strange
when we consider our remarkable success in scanning the surface of the
moon at the present day, and remember that the inhabitants of the moon
were then nearing the close of their history, and so at the height of
their civilization.

“Yes, they had watched the coming of man upon the stage with the deepest
interest--with a neighborly interest, in fact--seeing in him the promise
of a companion race and one worthy of the magnificent globe which they
could see was so much larger than their own. Their powerful instruments
enabled them to see objects on the earth as distinctly as we now see
through our telescopes the features of a landscape a few miles distant.

“Keeping thus so close an acquaintance with man and all his works, they
rejoiced at every success he achieved over the lower forms of life, and
grieved at all his failures. Especially were they pained when he tired
of the conflict with his natural foe, and began to battle with his own
kind. As this inhuman strife continued, the folly and wickedness of
it roused to the fullest extent the interest and sympathy of the
moon-dwellers, and they began to ask each other what they could do to
put a stop to it. They themselves had long since given up war and had
even outgrown all individual quarrels, and they could not endure with
patience what was then taking place right under their eyes. But
they found it easier to declaim against the evil than to suggest any
practical method of stopping it. Although so near them in one sense, to
the other senses the field of conflict was some two hundred and forty
thousand miles away.

“However, of what value is a high state of civilization if it cannot
help a neighboring world in such an emergency as this? If they could
only communicate in some way with men they could soon make them
understand that it would be better for them to cease their fighting and
finish their legitimate work of subduing the lower forms of creation.
But how to open communication! The problem long remained unsolved,
the condition of things on the earth in the meantime growing worse and
worse. At last it was suggested that a shot might be fired which would
reach the earth. This was a bold suggestion, but it was well known that
they had explosives powerful enough to carry a projectile beyond the
moon’s attraction, and no one could give any good reason why such a
projectile, being entirely free of the moon, should not reach the earth
under the power of gravitation. It was determined to try the experiment,
and after due preparation, which was comparatively easy with their
facilities, an enormous shot was hurled forth. It was large enough to be
seen by the aid of their powerful telescopes as it sped on its way,
and it was with intense interest that they saw it enter the earth’s
attraction and finally strike the surface of that globe. Now that so
much had been accomplished, they saw immense possibilities before them.
What they now wanted to do was to use their discovery to make men give
up their fighting and turn to the arts of peace.

“How could they do this? Some proposed that they should make hollow
shot, fill them with Bibles and other books, and bombard the earth with
good precepts till men should learn and be tamed. But from their close
observation of mankind the moon-dwellers knew they were too uncivilized
to get any good from books, and that they certainly could not learn
without a teacher. Hence arose the suggestion that missionaries be
sent in place of books. As soon as this idea was broached thousands of
volunteers offered themselves, and the plan would certainly have been
attempted if there had been the slightest possibility that one could
live to reach the earth.

“The next proposal came from the medical profession. Long before this
time, when the inhabitants of the moon were sometimes governed by their
passions and before the day of peace and good will had fully arrived, it
had been discovered that what was known as the pugnacious instinct was
only a disease, bad blood in fact as well as in name, and a remedy had
been found for it. This was nothing less than the bi-chloride of comet.
Small comets, such as we call meteorites, were picked up on the surface
of the moon and put to this practical use. This medicine, administered
as an hypodermic injection, produced wonderful effects, the patient,
although afflicted with the most quarrelsome disposition, becoming as
mild and harmless as a lamb. However warlike one might be, a few days’
treatment would take the fighting spirit out of him so completely that
the mere doubling up his fists and placing them in front of his face
would make him feel ill. Peace societies got hold of the remedy and
tried it on the soldiers of the standing armies with such success that
war had to be abandoned because the men would not fight.

“And now the old recipe was brought out, a large quantity of the
medicine manufactured, and bombs made and filled with it, each one
containing full directions for its use written in Volapiik. These were
fired to the earth, and, strange to say, the simple language was soon
learned, and the moon-dwellers had the satisfaction of seeing men
rapidly metamorphosed into a peaceable, friendly race. Thus the moon
directly influenced and governed affairs on the earth. Looked at from
that distance it seems to have been the most remarkable case of the tail
wagging the dog that the earth had ever seen.

“But we may as well relate the sequel. The effect of the treatment
lasted only a few hundred years, and as it was the moon’s policy never
to repeat a cure, men in time became as bad as ever again, and so at
last the flood had to come and wipe them off the face of the earth.”



As I finished the doctor looked somewhat bored, but Thorwald was kind
enough to thank me, and then, at our earnest solicitation, he resumed
his argument.

“You have told me,” he said, “of some of your earlier beliefs about the
origin of meteorites. Have you any more modern views?”

To this the doctor replied: “If my friend here has really finished
talking for a while I will say, Thorwald, that the theories already
spoken of seem to be disproved by the discovery that these stones enter
the earth’s atmosphere with a planetary velocity. A body falling from
an infinite distance--that is, impelled only by the attraction of
gravitation--would strike the earth with a velocity of only six or
seven miles a second, while the meteorites come at the rate of twenty
to thirty miles a second, the earth’s rate of revolution being nineteen
miles in the same time. It is found that a necessary consequence of
these velocities is that the meteors move about the sun, and not
the earth, as the controlling body. Our latest study points to the
conclusion that they are of cometary origin, and, as comets have been
known to divide, some scientists believe the meteorites are fragments
of exploded comets. At any rate, they are found in the company of these
mysterious bodies, and appear to have similarly eccentric orbits.”

“Your studies are leading you in the right direction,” said Thorwald.
“The meteorites do indeed come from the regions of space, and if they
have any story to tell it is a story of those distant parts of the
universe about which any testimony is valuable. Let us look again at the
fragment we are supposed to hold in our hand. Can we tell of what it is
composed, or is its substance something entirely new? I am sure you must
have analyzed it down to its minutest particle, and if so you have found
it contains nothing foreign to the earth. There is not a single element
in the meteorite that does not exist also in the crust of the earth.
Tell me, Doctor, how many elements have you discovered in them?”

“Nearly thirty,” answered the doctor. “And one interesting fact is,
that the three elements most common in the earth--iron, silicon, and
oxygen--are also found most widely distributed among the meteorites.”

“That is an exceedingly significant fact,” said Thorwald; “and now
do you not see how strongly the meteorites confirm the story of the
spectrum, and how everything tells us the universe is one in its
physical structure? By these two widely different sources of information
you find that beyond doubt other heavenly bodies are made of like
materials with the earth. Is it not time now to give your imagination
just a moment’s play and look upon some of those distant orbs as the
probable abode of life?”

“There I cannot follow you,” responded the doctor. “I am wanting in
imagination; probably born so, as some people are born without an ear
for music. Let us stick to facts. Among the recent discoveries in
the field of which we have been talking was the finding of some small
diamonds in a meteoric mass. Upon this some enthusiastic writer, whose
imaginative soul would be your delight, Thorwald, built this argument:
‘Diamonds being pure carbon, their existence necessitates a previous
vegetable growth. Hence vegetable life in other worlds is proven, and if
vegetable life, it is fair to presume the existence of animal life
also. Of course, then, there must be intelligent life, and therefore the
stars, or the planets that revolve around the stars, are all filled with
men.’ This I call not reasoning, but guessing.”

“And still,” quickly responded Thorwald, “the discovery of diamonds in
meteorites was a valuable link in the chain of evidence which you are
putting together. Keep on with your investigations. Some time positive
knowledge will come to you as it has come to us. But let me appeal once
more to your reason. At an earlier stage of development your race no
doubt believed the earth was the center of the universe, around which
all the heavenly bodies swept in magnificent circles. You have learned
that the earth itself, which was formerly thought to be so important an
object, is only one of those heavenly bodies flying through space. You
find the earth resembles its nearest companions in being subject to the
same laws of motion which govern them, but you have yet to learn that
they resemble the earth in the main purpose of their creation. You go
into the forest and see thousands of trees. You can find no two alike,
and yet all are alike in every material respect. Even the myriads of
leaves are all different, and yet all alike. So why may not the millions
of stars that fill the sky be like our own sun and like each other,
differing in such immaterial things as size and brilliancy, color and
constitution, but alike in the chief object of their being, the giving
of light and heat, as vivifying forces to dark bodies surrounding them?
And why may not these planets resemble the earth in being, at some stage
of their existence, the theater of God’s great designs?

“Let me try to excite your imagination in another way, Doctor. Suppose
you should by and by awake and find this visit to Mars only a dream, and
then suppose it should be revealed to you in some superhuman way
that man was indeed the only race of intelligent beings in the whole
universe; that the other planets and all the stars were of no real
use; that not one world from that vast region of the milky way and far
distant nebulae would ever send forth a note of praise to its Creator,
and that the tiny earth was, after all, the center and sum of the
universe--tell me, would you not feel lonesome?”

“When you put it in that way, Thorwald,” replied the doctor, “I begin
to see how unreasonable my position must appear to you. But, however
pleasant the idea, I do not see how I can believe that other worlds are
inhabited without more evidence than we now possess. This is speaking,
of course, without the knowledge we have gained since coming here. But I
do not mind saying that your talk has made me wish I could believe it.”

I was glad for several reasons that the doctor acknowledged as much as
this. First, for Thorwald’s sake; for I had been thinking the doctor’s
obduracy was proving a poor reward for our friend’s great kindness to
us. I rejoiced, too, that my companion was beginning to show our new
acquaintance that, although he had little imagination, he was possessed
of a good heart. And, finally, I was myself so much in sympathy with
Thorwald’s views that I was glad to see his arguments begin to make some
impression on the doctor’s mind.

But now it seemed to me that Thorwald had much to tell us from his own
experience. He had talked so far on this subject from the standpoint
of our earthly knowledge, but had hinted more than once that the
inhabitants of Mars had more positive evidence than we had ever dreamed
could be possible. So I said:

“Your arguments have been very acceptable to me, Thorwald, but can you
not strengthen even my faith by speaking now from the results of your
own more advanced studies? We must base our belief in the existence of
life outside the earth on mere probabilities, which, however strong,
lead only to theory and leave us still in doubt. Have you any certain
knowledge on the subject, or, I might say, had you any before we came to
see you?”

“Oh, yes,” replied Thorwald, “we have long had evidence almost as
positive as your presence here, fresh from one of our sister planets.
It will give me great pleasure to tell you of some of our marvelous
achievements in astronomy. The doctor says he would like to believe
in the habitability of other worlds; he must believe in it before I am
through if he has any faith in me.

“I would like to say, to begin with, that whatever we have accomplished
in this science you on the earth can accomplish. I know enough by
comparing your development with our own to feel sure that our present
condition foreshadows yours, and that all the knowledge we possess in
various directions will come in time to you. Let nothing discourage you
in your quest for knowledge. If you seem to have arrived at the limit of
possibilities in the telescope, for example, have patience. Difficulties
which you think insurmountable, time will remove, and you will be able
to penetrate more and more into the mysteries of the universe.

“Our telescopes have gradually increased in power until we have been
able to accomplish things that you will no doubt think truly marvelous.
But, before you call any achievement in this science impossible, just
look back and compare the ignorance of the early inhabitants of the
earth with your present knowledge; and do not be so proud of the wisdom
already attained that you cannot also look forward to an enlarged
comprehension of things you now call mysteries, and to a much closer
acquaintance with the works of God.

“To our increasing vision the heavens have continued to unfold their
wonders. We have penetrated far into the depths of space only to marvel,
at each new revelation, at the power and wisdom of the Creator. The
number of stars discovered to our view would be incredible to you, and
yet it will be interesting to you to learn that we can still place no
bounds to creation. We have, it is true, found the limits of what we
call our universe and have mapped out all its boundaries. When this had
been done we tried to pierce the surrounding darkness, but for a long
time, in spite of our belief that we could not yet see the end, all
beyond seemed a void. Recently, however, our faith has been rewarded,
for we can now see other universes, buried in far space but revealed
dimly to the higher powers of our telescopes.

“But you are doubtless eager to hear of some more definite knowledge
gained from this wide domain. Well, we have determined the distances,
size, and motions of many of the stars, resolved star clusters and
nebulae, solved the mystery of the double and variable stars, and, what
is of more consequence than all these things, we have in many instances
discovered the secondary bodies themselves, revolving around a central
sun. We now know, what we so long suspected, that the rolling stars are
suns like our own, giving light and heat to attending worlds. With this
knowledge, can you wonder, Doctor, that we acquired the belief that
these worlds, resembling so much the planets of our own system, are fit
homes for intelligent beings?”

“I cannot see,” replied the doctor, “that such a belief necessarily
follows your discovery, which, I must own, was an exceedingly valuable
one. I can readily believe that each star that shines in our sky is a
sun surrounded by dependent bodies so dark as to be invisible through
our terrestrial telescopes, but still I presume even your instruments
are not powerful enough to find any inhabitants on those distant

“No,” replied Thorwald, “but for what other conceivable purpose were
these bodies created?”

“I frankly acknowledge that I am not able to answer that question,” said
the doctor. “If you have many more wonderful discoveries to relate I
shall soon have to own myself convinced.”

“I am trying to convince your reason,” resumed Thorwald, “without the
aid of positive evidence, but I may as well proceed now to show you what
further knowledge we have gained.

“The nearer planets of our own solar system have been naturally the
objects of our close scrutiny. As our telescopes increased in power we
diligently studied the surface of these globes, searching for signs
of life. We mapped out their features, noted the various phenomena of
season and climate, and discovered many ways in which they seemed to
be like our world. But for a long time we found no direct evidence that
they were inhabited.

“At length, however, one ardent philosopher, full of hope, as we all
were, that we had neighbors on some of these globes, brought out the
idea that if these neighbors were as far advanced in astronomical
science as we were, there ought to be some means of communication
between one world and another. The thought took at once, and occasioned
the most lively interest. We had no doubt, from what we had learned of
these planets, that they were fitted to be, at some time, the home of
intelligent beings. Our question was whether the inhabitable period of
either of them coincided with that of Mars, and, if so, whether the race
was sufficiently developed to be able to see us as well as we could see

“The first means suggested to attract the attention of such a race of
beings was fire. You can imagine that we could get together material
enough to make a pretty big blaze, and we did. We lighted immense
fires in various places and kept them burning a long time, but without
accomplishing anything. We scanned minutely the surface of each
planet, but saw no sign anywhere that our effort at communication was

“Disappointed, but not discouraged, we determined next to try a system
of simple hieroglyphics by throwing up huge mounds on one of our plains.
We thought, if other eyes were studying Mars as closely as we were
searching the surface of our sister planets for signs of life, that
they would notice any unusual change in our appearance. Then if they did
notice it we hoped some means would be found to let us know it.

“It was decided to try first the figure of the circle, because we
knew that the form of all heavenly bodies must be the most familiar
to intelligent life wherever it existed. It took years of labor to
construct the mound, for it was thought best to have it large enough
to give the experiment a thorough trial. And now you may believe we
considered ourselves well repaid for all our toil and expense when, soon
after the circle was completed, our telescopes showed us a similar
form actually growing upon the surface of both Saturn and Uranus. We
immediately replied by beginning the construction of a square, and
before this was finished both planets began to answer, one with the
triangle and the other with the crescent. The latter was made by Uranus,
and as soon as it was finished the triangle began to appear beside it,
showing to us that Uranus was reading from Saturn also.

“Other signs followed, although, of course, the work was very slow, and
the experiments are still in progress. Some slight beginning has been
made toward the interchange of ideas. The time and labor required will
alone prevent extended communication, which would make it possible to
form, in the course of ages, a mutual language. As we were the first to
start it we propose to try to control the conversation, but if Saturn
and Uranus choose to steal our idea and gossip between themselves, we
know of no way to stop them.”

As Thorwald proceeded with this marvelous recital, it was interesting
to watch the doctor’s face. It was so apparent to me that he was fast
losing his skepticism that I was not surprised to hear him say:

“Thorwald, one fact is worth more to me than a world of theory, and if
you had begun by relating this wonderful experience you would not have
found me so incredulous. Who could refuse to believe with such testimony
before him? What news this will be to take back to the earth! But you
have, doubtless, other discoveries to relate to us. Excuse me,” the
doctor continued, turning to me, “for interrupting, even for a moment,
our friend’s most interesting discourse.”

“Let me say,” resumed Thorwald, “that your interruption has been helpful
to me, for now I know you have lost your doubts and believe with us in
this matter.”

“These efforts at communication have occupied us for generations, and
the close study which we have been obliged to give to the surface of the
other planets has made us well acquainted with their characteristics. We
have found many likenesses to our own world, as well as various points
of difference. The succession of the seasons has been an interesting
phenomenon. We have watched with delight the ever-changing rings of
our neighbor, Saturn, and can show you pictures of them as they were
thousands of years ago.”

“We have taken great pleasure in observing the round of seasons on
the surface of the earth, not dreaming that we should ever have the
privilege of talking face to face with its inhabitants.”

“Well, now that we are here, Thorwald,” said the doctor, “we want to get
all the information possible. So please go on and tell us more of your
discoveries. How about those bodies that you have found circling like
planets around other suns? Have you any evidence in regard to their
inhabitants? Your telescopes cannot surely bring any such bodies near
enough to enable you to communicate with them.”

“True,” replied Thorwald, “but this is another instance where nature has
lent us her assistance. If you have been surprised at some things that
I have already said, you will probably find what I am about to relate
equally outside of your experience.”



“The most remarkable event in the realm of matter that ever occurred
in connection with this planet, of which we have a record, was its
collision with a comet. This was many ages ago and it made an epoch in
our history, so that we say such a thing occurred so many years before
or after the collision. Although the records are rather meager we know
enough of the details to have a fair understanding of the wonderful

“The comet had no established period, as so many others have, but
seemed to be an entirely new-comer, and from its first appearance showed
plainly that it was making straight for our planet. The astronomers
predicted at once what the inevitable result would be, and you can
imagine the consternation of the world as this monstrous, fiery object
bore down upon us, increasing in size and splendor every day, until
it filled half the sky and threatened to engulf us in flame and
destruction. There seemed to be no possible escape, and, in fact, there
was to be no escape from a collision, but almost all the harm that
followed was the result of pure fright. For as the comet came rushing
upon us the whole hemisphere of Mars was filled with its blazing
substance, which appeared, however, to burn itself out in our
atmosphere, and to leave, in most cases, nothing to reach the ground.

“Perhaps you have seen a shower of falling stars on the earth, brilliant
and threatening in appearance, but causing in reality little damage. So
the comet came to us. Its immense, fiery volume, which filled us with
such dread, was so diffused that it was nearly all consumed by impact
with our atmosphere. But there was a great solid nucleus, which struck
the ground with immense force, and remains as our largest meteorite.

“Thus not only was our world spared from destruction, but that which
threatened to be such an evil proved to be a great acquisition. For the
comet, as it is still called, has revealed to us the most astonishing
secrets. For a long time the mass of matter lay untouched, superstition
and the lack of scientific curiosity tending to preserve it as it fell.
But at length the spirit of inquiry proved to be too strong, and
within a comparatively recent period the comet has been broken into and
explored with wonderful results.

“You must know, to begin with, that this greatest natural curiosity on
the face of our planet is no common meteorite such as you are acquainted
with. Indeed, if it had struck the earth as fair a blow as it did us I
think the shock would have been felt much more severely by your little
race, for it is hundreds of miles in diameter and the velocity with
which it was traveling was simply incredible. Fortunately it fell upon
an uninhabited plain, partly burying itself in the ground, and for
several years the mass was so hot that it could not be approached. This
helped to make it an object of awe and almost of veneration, so that
many centuries of time passed before any critical examination was made
of it. Even then nothing was accomplished toward revealing its marvelous
secrets. The surface was found to be hard and metallic, with the
familiar burned appearance caused by contact with the atmosphere,
and the substance, in its chemical composition, resembled, with some
variation, other meteoric specimens. Some attempt was made to penetrate
into the interior of the mass, but all that was discovered led to the
belief that it was of similar structure throughout.

“This was the extent of the knowledge obtained of the interesting object
until the beginning of the present age of advanced civilization.

“When we had learned by our successful experiments that some of our
sister planets were inhabited, and when our powerful telescopes had
revealed what we believed to be planets of other systems, there was
intense interest in the search for any evidence of life in these more
distant worlds. They were so very far away that we doubted if we could
ever know enough about them to tell whether they were habitable, and it
seemed as if we could only judge of their condition from analogy
with our own solar system. These views prevailed until the brilliant
suggestion was made, and it is not known by whom it was first advanced,
that perhaps we had, right here with us, the means of discovering what
we so much desired to know. It had always been assumed that our comet
was of uniform structure, but why let such a matter rest in uncertainty?
It is one of the strange things in our history that this question was
not seriously asked long before that time. But now that the idea was
broached the work was entered into with great earnestness.

“This was the position: Here was this huge mass that had come to us from
some unknown region of the sky, almost certainly from beyond the bounds
of our solar system, and we were to pry into it to see if it had any
story to tell us of its former condition. The advancement of science had
given us the means of easily penetrating into the interior of the comet,
and it was determined to make thorough work of it. And this feeling was
found to be necessary, for the enterprise proved to be discouraging
for many years. An immense tunnel was made through the entire mass,
and nothing was found to repay the trouble. Many were now in favor
of abandoning the work, but after a period of rest another trial was
decided upon and a second tunnel begun. Never did perseverance have a
more perfect reward; for, before the new excavations had proceeded far,
discoveries were made which suddenly changed our comet, in regard to
which most people had lost all interest, into the most wonderful object
in all the world.

“In short, we now know that we have here a fragment of a former planet.
How the planet was dismembered and how this piece happened to come
flying to us, we do not know. But could it have come about more
fortunately for us if it had all been designed by an over-ruling power?
When we had learned all that our expanding but limited intelligence
could teach us of the other parts of the universe, and when our minds
were ripe for more knowledge, we found this magnificent object lesson,
which had been waiting for us all these years. Beneath the uninviting
surface of that familiar comet were revealed wonders which, if they
had been discovered when the mass first came, would not have been
half-appreciated, but which now told us, in answer to our eager
inquiries, more than we ever thought to know about the far-distant works
of our God.”

The doctor and I were amazed beyond measure by this recital, and were
quite ready to admit that a superior intelligence had directed the
wonderful event. But we were exceedingly anxious to know some of the
details of the discovery, and when the doctor had expressed this wish
Thorwald proceeded:

“I could talk on this subject,” he said, “till night-fall if you desire,
but it will be better for you to restrain your curiosity till you can be
taken in person to the scene. Let me tell you in general terms what you
will find. The comet fell, as I have said, in an uninhabited plain, but
it is now at the door of the largest city on our planet, which has been
built there since the discoveries were made. The excavations have left
an immense opening, where galleries and chambers of great extent have
been dug out. These have been finished off with untold labor, and new
ones are being constantly added. Here is our greatest museum, beside
which all other collections of natural objects are as nothing, for all
that has been found in the comet remains there; nothing has been
allowed to be taken away. You will appreciate something of the wonderful
character of these curiosities when I tell you that they give evidence
of a world many times larger than Jupiter and of an intellectual and
spiritual development as much beyond ours as ours is in advance of that
of the earth.

“We have exhumed buried cities in our own planet more than once, where
volcano or other convulsion had overwhelmed them, and found the relics
of past civilization; but here, in our comet, we look not upon the past
but upon the future, as it were, and see what has been done in a world
much older than our own. The belief that the comet did not originate in
our solar system has been verified, for we find that the globe of which
it was once a part revolved around an immense sun which had a retinue of
twenty-seven planets of various sizes. Whether this great sun is one
of the stars of our firmament we can only conjecture; perhaps in some
future state of existence we shall know.

“You have wondered if the earth will ever advance to the condition in
which you find us, and we are asking the same question in regard to
ourselves and the still higher development exhibited in our comet. My
opinion is that these very discoveries are to be in a measure the means
of our advancement. We are only beginning to make out their wonderful
character. As we learn more of them we hope to find out more closely
how that people lived, and to be directed in our upward path by their
example. In the pursuit of this knowledge we are hampered by our
ignorance of their language. All that we know of them and their planet
has been gained by their very suggestive pictures and illustrations, for
of their written records, which exist in great abundance, we can as yet
make nothing. In our former studies of the different languages of our
own world we found something common to them all, upon which we could
work; but in this case an entirely new principle seems to obtain, and
the problem so far baffles all our skill. So you see here is something
for us to do, and when we have accomplished the task, as I have no doubt
that result will come, we shall then be able to study in detail that
remarkable civilization the knowledge of which is wisely kept from us
until we can understand and appreciate it.

“You come here from your young planet, representing a race that is still
struggling with the lower forms of materialism, and find us so much in
advance of your condition that perhaps you imagine we are perfect. We
ourselves know we are far from that state, especially since we have
been able to compare our development with the higher civilization of the
people who once lived on our comet.”

Thorwald paused a moment, and the doctor, who showed by every indication
that he was engrossed in the subject, took occasion to remark:

“We certainly have harbored the thought you attribute to us, Thorwald.
After all you have told us of your freedom from trouble, of the
dethronement of selfishness and the reign of love, of your great
achievements in every art, and of your ideal life in general, we shall
always look upon you as a perfect race. How is it possible to rise to a
higher plain? Can you express in terms suited to our comprehension your
idea of that advanced state of existence of which you find indications
on your comet? What is the character of that development?”

“You will perhaps understand something of its character,” answered
Thorwald, “if I say it is almost entirely spiritual. While we have made
some progress in that direction, our superiority over the earth-dwellers
is chiefly in physical and intellectual attainments. In the realm of the
spirit we have yet far to go, and as long as we can see imperfections in
our nature we feel that there is something ahead for us to strive after.
With that example before us of a much more exalted life, we shall not
be satisfied until we have learned its secrets and attained to its
perfections. In this upward march we shall be sustained and helped by
the same divine Power that has thus far led us.”



We were much impressed by Thorwald’s earnest words and manner, and
we began to realize that the civilization of Mars was above our most
exalted conception. I had been so carried away by the topics which I
had feared were going to be uninteresting that I had lost some of the
restlessness of the morning, but as our sitting broke up and I noticed
it was drawing near noon my anxious thoughts returned. Finding Fronda
and learning from her from what direction Avis might be expected to
come, I determined to go out alone and see if I could meet her. I
managed to get away without the fact being noticed, as far as I could
discover, and started down the walk at a brisk pace. The houses were
a good distance apart and were all attractive enough to draw out both
wonder and admiration, had my mind been in a condition to appreciate
their beauty. Occasionally an electric carriage would pass me, but the
first pedestrian I met was a woman of noble bearing and about the age of
Fronda, I should judge. After all I had heard of the physical and mental
perfections of the inhabitants of Mars, I did not expect to see any but
good-looking people. In this we were never disappointed, though still
there were gradations of beauty even there. This woman whom I had met
must have been at one time strikingly handsome, and if time had robbed
her of any of that quality it had made it up by giving her a rare
sweetness that fully atoned for the loss. As I was about to pass her she
looked at me with such a pleasant and agreeable curiosity that I stopped
and said:

“Pardon me, but may I ask you a question?”

“Certainly,” she answered in a charming voice, “and I shall be very
glad to help you in any way. I recognize that you are one of the
earth-dwellers, and I have met your companion the doctor.”

“Is it possible? I wonder he has not told me of such good fortune. But
this is the question I wanted to ask you. As you came along this path
did you see a young girl named Avis?”

“I did not, I am sure. I have met no young girl, and I could not see any
one by the name of Avis.”

“Why so?”

“Because there is no such girl.”

“Excuse me,” I said, “but probably you do not know her. I have just come
from one of the houses yonder, where she is expected about noon, and I
came out to try and meet her.”

“Do you know her?” she asked.

“No--or, rather, I hope so; I cannot tell till I see her.”

“That’s curious. Have you ever met her?”

“I am not sure. I hope I have. I cannot explain it to you just now,
but the minute I put my eyes on Avis I shall be able to answer all your

“But her name cannot be Avis.”

“Oh, yes, it is. It is quite plain that you do not know her.”

“I beg your pardon,” she returned, “there is but one person in all this
country by the name of Avis.”

“Then that is the very person I am trying to find.”

“You have found her.”


“Right here. I am she.”

I laughed outright and said:

“Oh, no, you must be mistaken. I do not mean to be disrespectful, but
the Avis I am looking for is young, younger than I am--evidently another
person of your name, whom you have never met.”

“How do you know she is young?”

“Why,” I answered, “of course she is young.”

And then, when I thought of it a moment, I remembered that no one had
told me her age, but I added:

“I know she is young, because I have heard her sing.”

It was now my companion’s turn to laugh, but although her merriment
was at my expense its expression, like all her actions, was exceedingly
pleasing. The thought occurred to me that even the most cultured of the
earth’s inhabitants have still much to learn in the realm of manners.

“Oh, do you imagine,” she asked, in the midst of her laughing, “that you
can tell one’s age in Mars from the quality of the voice? Does this Avis
of yours sing well?”

“Excellently well. Until I heard her I had supposed there was but one
singer anywhere, in earth, sun, moon, or star, possessed of such a sweet
and thrilling voice.”

“And where, if I may ask, did you find that one?”

“Oh, the doctor and I discovered her in our travels. I will tell you all
about her when I have more time. Now will you excuse me while I continue
my search for Avis?”

“You have forgotten,” she answered, “what I told you. I am Avis.”

“Not my Avis, the singer.”

“Yes, the very same, and I can prove it.”


She answered by turning half around, lifting her head, and sending out
on the air one full, rich note. It poorly describes my emotions to say
I was astonished. If I had been blind and dependent only on what I heard
at that moment, I should have thrown myself at her feet and called
her Mona. It brought back to me not only every expression of Mona’s
marvelous voice, but also every feature and every grace which had
formerly so bewitched me. If I had loved her passionately when we were
together in the body, it would be difficult to characterize my feelings
now that she was present only in memory. These sensations swept over me
rapidly, but before I could utter a word my companion spoke again:

“I see you hesitate. Let me complete my proof by saying that you are
visiting, with Zenith and Thorwald, at the house of Fronda, and have
heard me sing two nights in succession.”

“Then,” I exclaimed, with sorrow and despair in my voice, “I have indeed
found Avis, but, alas! I have once more lost Mona.”

“How so?”

“Why, don’t you see? I expected to find Mona and lose Avis. I thought
Avis was Mona, a thought born partly of hope, I suppose, but it did not
seem possible that there could be two such singers. So you are really
Avis. I must try and remember that, and not express any more sorrow
at not losing you. If Avis could not be Mona it is certainly a great
consolation to find her in you. Let me return with you to Proctor’s; and
now, will you not sing for me as we walk?”

“Are you so fond of singing, or is it because you like to be reminded of

“Both, I assure you.”

“Does my voice sound like hers in conversation?”

“Oh, no, Mona never talked as we do. Everything she wanted to say she

“You surprise me,” said Avis. “I should think she would soon become
tiresome to her friends.”

“If you had ever known her you would not make such a remark as that.”

“I beg your pardon,” she quickly returned. “I presume you are right. And
now, to atone for wounding your feelings, I will sing till we come in
sight of Fronda’s house.”

“I thank you very much, and I promise you I shall walk as slowly as

She sang some sweet little things for me as we sauntered along,
attracting me powerfully and making it easier for me to conceal my great

When we reached the house Avis explained, in a few pleasant words, the
fact of our acquaintance, and as soon as family and guests were
all gathered for the noonday lunch I told them about my peculiar
forgetfulness of what had occurred on the moon and then about the manner
in which the events had been brought back to my mind. They showed more
interest in the latter part of my relation than in the former, and when
I was through the doctor said:

“I must confess to you now, my friend, that I told these good people
something about your aberration. It was entirely for your own sake, for
I wanted their help in bringing about your recovery, and now that we
have been successful I hope you will forgive me.”

“You know there is nothing to forgive,” I replied. Then Zenith said:

“The doctor implies that we have all helped in the happy result, but I
can tell you that it is entirely due to himself and Avis. He happened
to meet Avis and heard her sing. He was struck at once with the
likeness between her voice and Mona’s, about whom he had told us, and he
conceived the idea that if you could hear it when you were alone, say
in the night, and not know who the singer was, it might be the means
of bringing the forgotten circumstances all back to you. From what the
doctor has told us we have, every one of us, fallen in love with Mona,
and I presume when we get your estimate we shall think none the less of
her. If I am correctly informed you found her especially attractive.”

“In answer to your kind expressions of interest in me, Zenith, I will
say that, in spite of my appreciation of what you are all doing for us,
I shall never see another really happy moment until Mona is found.”

“Then,” quickly responded Thorwald, “we must redouble our efforts to
find her. I must tell you that ever since the doctor first acquainted us
with the loss of Mona we have had parties searching for her in all that
part of the ocean.”

“How thoughtful you are,” I exclaimed. “But why do we not hurry home?
Perhaps she is found.”

“I regret to add to your sorrow,” said Thorwald, “but we should learn of
it here as quickly as at home, for I am in constant communication with
my friends who are conducting the search. Still, we have been staying
here for you and can now bring our visit to a close at any time.”

So after lunch we bade adieu to Proctor and his household, and started
for home, the same way we went out--that is, by going west again. As we
made a leisurely journey and enjoyed a good night’s rest on the way, it
was just before noon when we arrived at Thorwald’s house. Here we
found Antonia, who had been advised of our coming by telephone, and had
prepared a nice lunch for us. Just as we were all about to sit down
to enjoy it, a young man entered unannounced and, without formal
invitation, joined us in gathering about the board. This was not an
instance of undue familiarity, as we soon discovered, but illustrated
again the free and hearty hospitality of these generous people.

“Foedric,” said Thorwald, as soon as the guest had been greeted, “let
me present you to these two friends from the earth. You doubtless have
heard of their arrival.”

“I have,” answered Foedric, “and I am exceedingly pleased to make their
acquaintance.” And then turning to the doctor, he said:

“We shall not let Thorwald and Zenith have the monopoly of your company
while you are visiting our world. Many others are anxious to see you and
to learn something of our sister planet.”

“There is not much to learn,” said the doctor, “from such an unripe
race as we represent, and I must say your people have not exhibited any
unpleasant curiosity.”

“I am glad you have not been annoyed. We understand too well what is due
you as our guests to crowd our attentions upon you, but you will allow
me to say that already the main facts in your case are known all
over our world, and our scientists are discussing the earth and its
inhabitants in the great light of the knowledge which you have brought.”

Foedric spoke with ease, and yet with entire absence of youthful
pedantry. The doctor and I could but admire his fine face and robust
form, as well as his manly courtesy and friendliness. And before the
meal was over we discovered that one other person at the table admired
him, probably for the same and many other qualities. It seemed to us
accidental when Foedric had dropped in upon us and chosen a seat next to
Antonia, but it soon became evident that we had not witnessed even that
kind of an accident.

What was exhibited to us there, among that highly developed people, was
a genuine, old-fashioned, new-fashioned love affair. We rejoiced in our
hearts to find that their advanced civilization left abundant room for
the development of the tender passion, and that it also seemed not to
discourage a plain and sensible exhibition of it. For these two young
people made no effort to conceal their happiness. Not the company of
their chosen friends nor the presence of strangers from a distant world
caused them the slightest embarrassment, as they spoke from time to
time their words of love, simple words to other listeners, but full of
meaning to themselves.

“Say that again, Antonia,” spoke Foedric.

“Why do you ask me to repeat it so often? I have said it so many times
and with so little variety of expression that I fear the monotony will
tire you. You can tell how strong my devotion is by my every look and

“Very well,” Foedric responded, “then I, too, will be silent.”

“Oh, no; I retract what I have said if it is to have that effect. It is
only my own expressions that seem tiresome. I could not be happy without
your voice in my ears, though you repeat from morn till eve the old,
familiar words.”

“Then you must believe the same of me,” said Foedric.

As we all happened to be listening to these two at that moment, Foedric
looked up to our host and said:

“Thorwald, do you think Antonia and I had better try to reform the
customs of the world, and do away with all verbal expression of our
attachment, on the ground that it is unnecessary and only a waste of

“If some cruel master should force such a prohibition upon you,
Foedric, what would be your feeling? The heart craves such expression as
naturally as the body craves food. Suppose a couple were to start off by
saying once for all that they loved each other, and then agree to live
the rest of their lives on that one expression. They would argue that
all such sentiment was folly, and interfered with the serious business
of life, and so, denying a healthy appetite, their hearts would shrivel
up and the fair blossom of their love would soon wither and die.”

As we smiled at Thorwald’s words, Zenith showed her interest by saying:

“The subject reminds me of that epoch in our history of which we read,
when all the world went without eating for a time.”

“Without eating?” asked the doctor.

“Yes, I will tell you about it. Once science reached that condition
where it thought it could make the world over and improve on the first
creation in a great many ways. Men began to say that the time spent in
cooking and eating was all wasted, that time, being the most valuable
thing they had, should be employed in some more useful way than in
indulging a mere sensual passion. The appetite came to be looked upon
as something too gross for intelligent beings and suited only to the
natures of the lower animals. Under the influence of this growing
sentiment, science soon discovered a process for condensing our food to
wonderfully small proportions. All extraneous matter was rejected, and
only those particles retained which were absolutely essential to our
nourishment, chemical knowledge having reached a high state. The result
was that it finally became possible to subsist a whole day on a single
swallow. One pill, taken every morning, contained all the food required,
both for the growth and maintenance of the body Science prided itself on
such an advanced step, and men looked forward and wondered what further
marvels the future would bring forth.”

The doctor did not try to hide his interest in this recital, and as soon
as Zenith paused he said:

“My friend and myself are most truly thankful that that custom did not
continue to the present day. But did it remain long?”

“No,” replied Zenith, “of course it could not. At first people thought
it an immense gain. Just think of the time and expense it saved in
every household, doing away with dining-room and kitchen, with all their
furniture and utensils, and reducing the cares of housekeeping much
more than half. But it proved to be a costly experiment, and nature soon
exerted itself, as it always will in time. Science, not satisfied with
what had been accomplished, kept striving after what it called more
perfect results, and just as it had made a pellet of such powerful
ingredients that it would sustain life for a week, men began to die
rapidly of the treatment. This called a halt, but the damage done was
serious enough to give the world a good fright, turn it back to the old
fashioned habit of eating, and confirm us forever in that indulgence.
Since then we have believed that such appetites are given us for a wise
purpose and that, rightly enjoyed, they are a means of growth toward a
more and more perfect state.”

“This lesson from our experience then,” said Foedric to Antonia, “is to
teach us the plain duty of lavishing upon each other, without measure,
our affectionate words, because it is a legitimate, healthy longing
of our nature, and I sincerely hope you will take it to heart. Do not
undertake to make me exist a week or a day on a single morsel.”

As for myself, I was not so much engrossed in this talk as to forget my
own condition, which seemed all the more forlorn by contrast with the
unalloyed happiness of these joyous beings. I wondered if such affairs
always went smoothly in Mars. Was early love always mutual, or did one
sometimes refuse to be wooed and prefer another? And did it ever happen
that the loved one was lost, as Mona was lost to me, perhaps never to be

But in the company of such happy people I felt that my anxious spirit
was out of place, and I tried to cast off my forebodings and to seize
from the image of Mona present in my memory a portion of her own cheer
and hope. That I was not entirely successful my looks must have
shown, for as we rose from the table Zenith said to me, with a look of

“You are sad--I think I will send for Avis to come over and cheer you

This was spoken as if Avis were just across the street and could run
over in a minute. But as I did not discourage the idea the invitation
was sent, and before night Avis was with us, filling the house with
melody. She delighted in her song and was as youthful in spirit as a
girl, and this was a quality always noticeable in the Martians. And,
moreover, under the influence of Avis the members of our own household
found their voices, so that the doctor and I learned that they need not
send to the antipodes for singers. Zenith and Foedric were exceptionally
good, but no one except Avis possessed the peculiar charm of Mona.



There was no way by which we could learn so much and so rapidly about
that wonderful world as by conversation, so at every opportunity we
tried to get Thorwald and the others to give us portions of their
history. From time to time my companion and myself compared our
impressions, and expressed to each other the pleasure we anticipated in
relating all the amazing things we had seen and heard to our friends on
the earth. The exceedingly doubtful problem of our ever getting back to
our home again did not trouble us then.

We said to each other that the most startling things had probably all
been told us, and that we could not be much surprised by anything that
they could tell us further. And yet there was that to follow which, if
we could fully enter into its significance, would make us forget much of
what we had already heard, or at least care but little to recall it. In
truth, the new revelation which we were about to receive from the lips
of our friend was of so much value, and so different in character from
the other subjects Thorwald had spoken of, that we afterward came to
look upon all that had gone before as an introduction, perhaps intended
to prepare our minds for a much grander truth. Yet it was brought out
by a question from me, a question of whose importance I had little

When Thorwald was ready to talk one day I said to him:

“We have heard you several times speak reverently of a God. Will you
tell us definitely what your religion is?”

“With pleasure,” he replied. “We worship one God, the maker of all
things, and his Son, Jesus Christ, who gave his life for us.”

“Why, how did you hear of his death, Thorwald?”

“I might better ask how you heard of it. Many centuries ago God saw fit
to reveal himself more fully to us by sending his only Son, who came in
the likeness of our flesh, dwelt among us, and by cruel hands was slain.
He gave himself a sacrifice for our sins, but rose again from the dead,
as we, too, shall rise. He ascended into heaven and through him we now
have access unto the Father.”

“But Jesus died on the earth too, and you but describe his relations to

“I rejoice greatly to hear it,” answered Thorwald, “and I know now why
you were sent to us. This information is of inestimable value to us, for
we have spent much thought on the question of the moral government of
other worlds that we knew were inhabited. In God’s dealings with Mars,
lifting up our souls and preparing us for his service and glory, we
believed he was working in the very best way. There can be but one best
way; and so, considering that there might be many other races of sinful
beings needing a saviour, we wondered how God’s mercy was revealed
to them. This bright news which you bring is worth more to us at the
present time than all other possible information about the earth or its
people. The fact that the earth is inhabited was no great surprise to
us after what we had learned of our larger neighbors, but this--this is
news indeed.

“As an example of what our interest in this subject has prompted us
to do, let me tell you that in our extremely laborious and limited
intercourse with Saturn and Uranus we made the form of the cross. We all
feared our work might be in vain and many doubted seriously the wisdom
of proceeding with the undertaking, which occupied many years, when it
was so probable that those distant people would not know what the sign
meant. But we labored on, and before the form was fairly finished it was
with the keenest pleasure that we saw the answer growing on the rounded
surface of each planet. They worked, they stopped, and then we realized
that both had replied to our question with the short straight line
which, in our communications, has come to be the affirmative sign, or
the ‘yes’ in the new universal language.

“We interpreted this answer to mean that the great redemption signified
by the cross was known to the highly intelligent races that peopled
these rolling worlds. But how did that knowledge reach them? To that
question we never hoped to get an answer. Did a troop of bright angels
issue forth from the gates of heaven and wing their way from one planet
to another, as each race was ready for the joyful tidings, and make
this glad announcement?--‘Peace from heaven to this world! On Mars,
your sister planet, a child was born, the Son of God, the Saviour of the
universe. He lived a perfect life for your example, he died on the cross
for your salvation. Believe in him, love him, follow him!’

“We thought much on this point, wondering reverently how God had
wrought. And now you have come to explain all the mystery, to answer all
questions. One simple sentence tells it all: ‘Jesus died on the earth

“I see it perfectly now. Christ, the Lord of heaven, came to us in the
fullness of time, took upon him the likeness of our flesh, lived nobly,
was slain, rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven to prepare
blessed mansions for all his followers. So, too, in the fullness of your
time, when the earth was ready for the great sacrifice, Christ offered
himself again. He appeared in human form and lived among men as he had
lived with us, pointing your race, also, to a home of peace and joy

“Better than any announcement of angels of what had taken place in
some other world was his actual life among you, going about doing good,
shedding around him the spirit of love and self-denial, showing you the
way to live, the way to die.

“Among the vast multitude of peopled worlds which God has made, there
is doubtless great variety in nature and condition. But if there are any
others whose inhabitants were ever in our lost condition, let us hope
and believe that the same great act of mercy has been shown to them
which has so greatly blessed the planets of our own system.”

Here, at Thorwald’s request, I told him briefly of the Saviour’s advent
on the earth in the fulfillment of prophecy, of his beautiful life, and
then of the marvelous improvement his religion had brought about as it
spread in the world.

Thorwald appeared intensely interested, and exclaimed: “Oh! how this
truth you have told us does make brothers of us all, and how it will
enhance the pleasure of our intercourse. Now in our future conversation
we shall be in full sympathy, knowing that, though born so far apart, we
are all followers of the same dear Master.

“Zenith,” said Thorwald to his wife, who was sitting with us, “this is
a happy day for us all. These earth-dwellers, these men who have come to
visit our world, are not strangers; they are Christians. Think of it.”

At this juncture I could not help studying the doctor’s face, for I knew
this was the first time he had ever been called a Christian. In spite
of the seriousness of the situation, I was obliged to indulge in a quiet
smile to think he had to go all the way to Mars to be recognized in his
true character. For although he would not acknowledge the divine source
of it, he had imbibed a great deal of the real Christian spirit. But
he had spent his life in seeking for scientific knowledge in various
directions and was content, as he often said, to leave the unknowable
without investigation. I wondered whether, in these novel circumstances,
he would care to give voice to his agnosticism. But the doctor was
honest or he was nothing, and he could not endure that Thorwald should
rest under the false impression implied by his closing words. So with
some effort, as I could see, he said:

“I dislike exceedingly, Thorwald, to destroy the least particle of the
effect of your eloquence, but I feel compelled to say that, as for me, I
have never called myself a Christian.”

“Not a Christian!” said Thorwald. “I do not understand you. But perhaps
you use some other name. You surely do not mean that you turn aside from
that divine being who came to the earth to save you.”

“I do not know that such a being did come to the earth.”

“What!” exclaimed Thorwald, “is there any doubt of it? Has your
companion here been deceived? Must we give up our new-found joy?”

“Oh, no, no,” answered the doctor hurriedly. “I suppose it is true that
a good man named Jesus once lived on the earth and taught, and died a
shameful death.”

“A good man! Nothing more?”

“I don’t know,” answered the doctor.

“What do you believe?”

“I do not allow myself to have any belief.”

“Well, now, Doctor, you are a thinking being. Considering all you know
about Jesus--his noble life, his character and the character of his
teachings, and then the claims he made for himself--what do you think of

“Before such mysteries, and in answer to all questions relating to what
is called the supernatural, I always say, ‘I do not know.’”

“Well,” continued Thorwald, “do you think the life and death of a good
man could set in motion forces that would so transform the world and
give it such a start toward a higher and more perfect state?”

To this the doctor replied:

“In the early part of this conversation my companion told you he thought
the condition of man on the earth was improving, or, in other words,
that the earth was growing better. In that opinion he has many
supporters, but it is only fair that you should know that some of us
hold just the opposite view. We see so much evil in the world, evil that
is unrebuked and growing stronger from year to year, so many forces at
work dragging men downward and such fearful clouds ahead, that it seems
to us that the good is overmatched, and that there is but little hope of
a happy future for our race. I will also say, in order to be perfectly
frank, that even if we should admit that our civilization was advancing,
we should not attribute it to the influence of the Jewish reformer.”

“Then,” said Thorwald, “if I understand your feeling, you have no love,
no thanks even, for him who gave his life for you, and no sense of
gratitude for the loving Father who sent his Son to die for your sins.”

“I think you are hardly just,” replied the doctor, “for I am not
conscious of living a life of ingratitude. Your words imply a great deal
that I know nothing about. I am not aware that anyone was ever sent from
heaven to die for me, and I do not even know there is a heaven and a

“Did it ever occur to you, Doctor, that your attitude does not alter the
facts? In spite of your unbelief, or indifference if you will, there is
a God whose steps are heard throughout the universe, whose hand upholds
all worlds, and who looks with loving eyes upon all created beings, even
upon those who have the intelligence but not the heart to acknowledge
him. Oh! it is amazing to me that there can be one such being in all
God’s dominions.”

“Why, are there not any in Mars?”

“In Mars? Not one. Let me tell you, Doctor, that here you will be
unique, if that is any consolation to you. When this talk is made public
and the facts in your case are spread abroad everybody will want a share
in bringing you to your right mind, and we shall see what the result
will be with a world full of missionaries to one heathen.”

“Please do not use that word, Thorwald. I was born in Boston--you must
know where Boston is--of good old Puritan stock, and I am not a heathen
because I don’t know about some matters that I cannot, in the nature
of things, know anything about. You found a while ago that I wanted
imagination, and you now see that I am deficient also in faith, which it
seems to me is a product of the imagination.”

“No,” broke in Thorwald, “faith might rather be called the product of
reason and of the conscience, enlightened by every revelation which
God has made. But with us faith is an instinct. We believe in God as
naturally as we trust our parents. Our souls reach after divine things
to satisfy their longings, just as our bodies seek the food that shall
nourish them. In all this world there is not a heart devoid of love to
God, not one that does not own a personal and joyful allegiance to the
divine Saviour.

“But I forget that the earth is still young, and that, very long ago,
when Mars was in your condition, representatives of our race actually
walked the surface of this planet with no more thought of its Maker than
you exhibit. Forgive me if, in this talk, I have seemed too positive of
things which you claim cannot be known. But here there is no uncertainty
in these matters. There is now no open question in regard to the
existence of God and his loving care of us.”

“But, Thorwald,” asked the doctor, “how can you be sure? Help me to
see these things as you do. In the matter of the habitability of other
worlds you brought me over to your opinion by producing evidence which
took away all uncertainty and left me no room to doubt. Is it so in this

“No, my friend,” answered Thorwald, “it is not so. The evidence in this
case is of an entirely different character. Your companion has told me
how God has dealt with men, by what means he has made known his will,
and how he has revealed his love and mercy to your race. So has it been
with us, only here we have had more time to acquaint ourselves with
these blessed truths. If you ask for proofs, I can only say they are the
same which have no doubt been reiterated many times in your ears. The
voices that come to us from the invisible world are not tuned to the
coarse fiber of our physical nature, but are addressed to our spirits,
our very selves, and he who does not heed those voices would not be
persuaded even though one should rise from the dead.

“Let me induce you, Doctor, to cultivate the spiritual part of your
being, evidently undeveloped as yet, for only then will you begin to
realize that the evidence in support of these divine truths is more
convincing than any possible proofs that could be presented to our
outward senses.”

“Under your instruction,” said the doctor, “and with the example of a
world full of spirits of your faith and practice, I will do my best
to follow your advice, and try to catch some faint strain from those
heavenly voices. If I cannot believe, it shall no longer be because I
will not. But now, Thorwald, you have given too much time to me and have
been drawn away from your purpose of enlightening us in regard to your
wonderful planet.”

“Yes, Thorwald,” said I, “we must hear more of your interesting history,
and I think an account of what the religion of Jesus has done for Mars
will help to win the doctor to right views.”

“I shall take much pleasure in doing the best I can whenever you are
good enough to listen,” Thorwald answered. “But we shall now be still
more anxious to hear further about the earth.”



In the foregoing personal conversation, Thorwald had been uncompromising
in look and tone, as well as in word, toward the errors of my friend,
but for the doctor himself I was sure he had the kindest feelings. The
discovery of the dearth of spiritual perception in the doctor was
a greater surprise to Thorwald, I really believe, than our first
appearance was. And it was a surprise well calculated to awaken in his
finer nature a feeling as near akin to indignation as the Martian mind
of that era was capable of experiencing. So we had here the opportunity
of observing how a member of this highly civilized race, one endowed
with such lofty attributes, would act under severe provocation. The
exhibition was instructive. Thorwald certainly resented with all the
force of his pure and upright nature all that was evil in the doctor’s
attitude. Such doubt was entirely new to his experience. He had no place
for it; and he could do no less than cry out against it as he had done.
But his manner softened as soon as the doctor’s mood changed, and it
was apparent that he was ready to encourage in every possible way
the slightest indication of a change. And from this time Thorwald was
particularly tender toward the doctor, evidently desiring to show him
that, unbending to everything like disloyalty to God, he recognized his
sincerity when he declared that he would no longer set his will against
the reception of the truth.

In this mind Thorwald said:

“I perceive, Doctor, that your sturdy self-respect and the fear that
you might appear in a false position have compelled you to be unfair to
yourself. You believe more than you confess, else why did you repel with
such feeling my insinuation that you were a heathen? But if you have
ever determined to go through life believing in only what your hand can
touch and your eye can see, let me induce you to close your eyes and
fold your hands for a while, and with expectancy wait for the coming
into your heart of that divine influence which, encouraged however
feebly, shall presently show to your inner and better vision, in all his
beauty, him whom no eye hath seen nor can see.

“I do not exclude you therefore, Doctor, when I say again that we have
all been drawn into close sympathy by the knowledge your companion has
imparted, and in what I have to say further I am sure you will both see
a great deal to cause you to realize that your race and ours have the
same dear Father, who is guiding us to a common destiny.

“At your request I am to give you from time to time, as we have
opportunity, an account of the successive steps of our development, and
I would like to say at the start that there will be one great difference
between what I am to tell you and the rambling talk with which we began
our happy acquaintance. Then I gave you a few facts to show our present
condition, without intimating that there was any higher force at work
than a natural desire in us to make the most of ourselves, and treat our
neighbors well. Now, since I have discovered that you can enter into my
feelings to a greater or less extent, I shall not hesitate to refer to
its true source all that has helped us attain to our present condition,
and all that is urging us on to a still higher state.”

“We shall he very glad to know what you consider the spring of all the
vast improvement in your race,” I remarked.

“I did not use the word ‘consider,’” replied Thorwald. “That would imply
doubt where there is none. It is established beyond controversy that
both our material and spiritual development have come only through
the personal love and care of God for the creatures whom he has made,
exhibited through all our history, but especially through the sending of
his Son.”

“Some on the earth recognize the same truth in reference to our race,”
 I said. “But, in general, people do not think much of such things, or if
they think they do not say much. In fact, religious subjects are not as
a rule popular in conversation.”

“Why, what reason can there be for that?” Thorwald inquired with eager

“Oh, there is too much indifference in the matter,” I replied. “I
suppose most men do not think their relations to their Maker important
enough to give them any concern. And even the best among us shrink from
urging their opinions on others, partly because they know they are
not perfect examples themselves, and also from the feeling that their
friends are intelligent beings and ought to know, as well as they do,
what is best for them.”

“Oh, then, my dear Doctor,” said Thorwald, “I perceive that I have
committed a breach of etiquette in forcing this subject upon you, and
in asking you to put yourself in the way of receiving spiritual

“In the circumstances, I think you are excusable,” replied the doctor;
“and, besides, I believe I introduced the topic.”

“If you stay long with us,” resumed Thorwald, “you will become
accustomed to religious conversation, for here there is entire freedom
in such matters. Our spiritual experiences and the great possibilities
of the future state are exceedingly pleasant things to talk about, we
think, and we feel no more sensitiveness in doing it than in conversing
on the ordinary affairs of life. Being relieved of so many of the cares
pertaining to your existence, our minds are the more prepared to occupy
themselves with these high themes, and what is more natural than that
we should often like to speak to each other about them? As these things
become more real to you and the necessity of spending so much time in
caring for the body diminishes, you will gradually lose your present
feeling. You will also find that, in making these subjects familiar,
they need not lose dignity and you need not lose reverence.”

“Thorwald,” asked the doctor, “could you not give us a brief sketch of
your career, so that we may compare it with that of our race?”

“I will do the best I can,” answered Thorwald. “I think that is a good
suggestion, and after that is done any of us can tell you the history of
different epochs as opportunity offers. You are both such good listeners
that it is a pleasure to talk to you, but I want you to promise to
interrupt me with questions whenever you wish anything more fully

We promised to do so, and Thorwald began:

“Our world is very old. The geologic formations tell us of a time when
no life could exist--long ages of convulsion and change in the crust
of the globe. In time the conflict of the elements subsided and the
boundaries between land and water were established. Then came vegetable
life, rank and abundant, preparing stores of coal and oil for use in the
far future. Animals followed, the first forms crude and monstrous,
but succeeded by others better adapted to be the contemporaries and
companions of our race.

“The planet was now ready for its destiny, and it was put into the hands
of intelligent beings, made in the image of their Creator. This race
started in the highest conceivable state, perfect in body, mind, and
spirit. The material world was soon subdued to their use, and paradise
reigned below. We do not know how long this condition lasted, but in
some way sin entered and all was changed. Sorrow and death came, and a
thousand ills to vex us. Another period passed, and the race had become
so wicked that it could not be allowed to exist. A pestilence swept
over the world, and all but one tribe perished. Through this remnant the
world was repeopled, but sin and woe remained, to be driven out at last
only by a struggle too great for the arm of flesh alone.

“But the conflict began in hope, a hope inspired by the voice of God.
From the very entrance of sin help from above had been promised in the
person of one who should conquer evil, and through whom the race might
be restored to a much higher position even than that from which it had
fallen. Slowly the spirit of good, which is the spirit of God, worked
upon the heart, and in all ages there were some who walked in that
spirit. By one such soul God raised up a people to whom he committed his
message to the race, and through whom, at a later day, he fulfilled the
promise. Among this people there arose many faithful ones, and by them,
from time to time, God added to his message, acting as the personal
guide and defender of his people, and leading them by every path until
they finally knew him, in every fiber of their being, to be the only

“Prophets, too, there were among them, who, under divine guidance,
foretold a time of universal peace, when the kingdom of Christ should
come in all hearts and when even the beasts of the field should dwell
together in unity.”

“Why, we have just such prophecies,” said I, “but they are generally
interpreted figuratively. Do you really think they will be literally
fulfilled on the earth?”

“Well,” answered Thorwald, “I have already told you what has come to
pass here, and I will leave you to judge from our experience as to what
will come of the prophecies that have been made to you. From all you
have said at one time and another, I can see plenty of evidence that the
earth is traveling the same road with us, and I have no doubt it will
one day reach even a higher condition than the one we now enjoy.

“At length, when the time was ripe, God sent the promised Saviour. He,
the Lord of heaven, came and lived as one of us. He gathered around him
a few faithful souls, he preached his gospel of light and comfort to
the poor, and wept over the very woes he had come down to remove. His
humility proved a stumbling-block to the selfishness of the world, and
his own nation rejected him. He conquered death and returned to his
Father’s home, but his spirit, which had always been present in some
measure, now came with force, and began, through his followers, the task
of regenerating the race.

“A feeble church, planted thus amid sin and darkness, took deep root
in loyal hearts, grew strong with persecution, and soon kindled a light
which pierced the darkness and gradually spread its illumination
over all our planet. The history of that church is the history of our
development. The race has not come so far toward its maturity without a
mighty struggle. The long course of preparation for the present higher
condition has had many interruptions and obstructions. There have been
dark ages of stagnation and threatened defeat, and there have been
ages of hope and advancement. Through all this history the light of the
gospel, though often obscured, has never been extinguished, and every
step of progress that has been made in our condition is to be traced
directly to that light. We have not always been able to realize that;
but, now that we understand more fully our wonderful career, we see how
true it is that we have been led by a divine hand.”

“Do you mean,” I asked, “that your vast improvement in material affairs
has come through Christianity?”

“Certainly,” answered Thorwald. “Our civilization has walked hand in
hand with true religion, and in all ages every permanent advance in our
condition has come through the influence of the spirit of good, which
is always urging us to a higher and better state. In our progress many
mistakes have been made, with consequences so serious as to threaten at
the time our final defeat; but a higher power has led us through all our
troubles to a place of safety, where we can survey with gratitude the
field of conflict. If you so desire, I can relate to you at another time
some of the mistakes which have at times set us back in our march toward
a physical and spiritual superiority.”

We were pleased to notice by this last remark of Thorwald’s that he had
still in reserve many things to tell us, and we so expressed ourselves
to him.



Days passed and brought no news of Mona. I did all in my power to appear
cheerful, but often made a dismal failure of it. No one could help me,
and Thorwald, though sympathetic like all the rest, would allow me no
false hopes. He said a systematic and thorough search had been made,
both on land and water, without result, and he could see no prospect
of any success in the future. But, while I could see that Thorwald was
about ready to abandon in despair the attempt to find Mona, I would not
give up hope. I did not know at the time what excellent reasons Thorwald
had for his feeling, for I did not realize how very complete the search
had been, but my own faith was not founded on reason. I simply refused
to believe that I should never see again the object of such deep love.

While affairs were in this condition, Thorwald said to us one morning:

“I wonder you have not been more anxious to see one of our flying
machines. Our system of aerial navigation is one of the most enjoyable
of our material blessings, and I shall take great pleasure in giving you
a taste of it.”

“I think one reason,” I answered, “why we have not asked about it is
because we have had so many other interesting things to see, and then
you know we had our share of traveling in the air in coming to you.
However, we shall be delighted to see your method at any time when you
are pleased to exhibit it.”

“Very well,” said Thorwald; “then we will get up an expedition at once.
Zenith and Avis will accompany us, I think; and as we shall probably
fall in with Foedric, we will send for Antonia to go also.”

“That will make a pleasant party,” I said.

We found all were glad to go and witness our introduction to a modern
air ship, and we were soon off.

Not far from the house we found a luxurious carriage of just the right
size for us all. We did not see another like it anywhere about, and I
was moved to ask:

“How does it happen, Thorwald, that exactly the kind of conveyance you
want is ready without any prearrangement? This sort of carriage does not
appear to be very plentiful.”

“Things generally ‘happen,’ as you call it, for our convenience,” he
said. “Is it not so with you to some extent? If all the people wanted to
travel in your cars on the same day and at the same hour, they could not
easily be accommodated, but some dispensation divides them up so that
there are, I presume, about the same number who find it necessary or
convenient to travel each day. This subject has been studied by us, and
we believe that even these details of our lives are all arranged by him
to whom nothing is small, nothing great.”

A pleasant ride of a few miles brought us to a seaport, and to a
scene of much activity. It seemed to be a great distributing point, as
numerous loads of many kinds of goods were moving about, and immense
stores of fruit and vegetables were to be seen. These products of the
soil were of bewildering variety and surpassing richness, showing us
that agriculture, providing most of the food of the people, must be a
favorite science with many, and one that brought rich rewards. It was
pleasing to see everything going on in such a quiet, orderly manner, and
so many people at work without friction and with no look of fret, hurry,
or fatigue. Everyone seemed to be enjoying his work, if that could be
called work which looked so much like pleasure.

After riding through several busy streets we drew near an imposing
structure, which Thorwald told us was the front of the aerial station.
At the same time he directed our attention to the sky, and we saw a
number of air ships sailing leisurely along, some just starting out
and others apparently returning home. The doctor and I had our interest
quickened by this sight and were anxious for a closer view. As the fact
of riding in the air was not new to us, we had not been much excited by
the prospect of seeing how the Martians did it. But these ships were
so different from anything we had ever seen before that we began to
anticipate a great deal from our excursion after all.

Going through the building, we came into an immense court or open space,
large enough, one would suppose, for the fleets of a nation. Here were
a great number of flying machines of various sizes, all gayly decorated
with pleasing colors, and many of them, apparently, waiting for
passengers. Thorwald selected one of medium size, and as we approached,
whom should we find in charge but our young friend Foedric? In answer to
Thorwald’s question, he told us that both he and his vessel were at our
service, and we proceeded to mount to our seats in the car.

Foedric pulled a small lever, and we began to rise. He then expressed
his pleasure to the doctor and me that he had the opportunity of making
our further acquaintance.

“We are taking them for the ride,” said Thorwald, “and you may choose
any course and go to any height you please.”

We thanked Foedric for his pleasant words, and then he showed us about
the car and explained its conveniences. It was quite large, with a
number of apartments and accommodations sufficient for a dozen people
both day and night. Besides the ordinary furnishings for comfortable
living, we saw air-condensing machines for use in lofty flights, a
good-sized telescope, instruments for measuring speed and height, and
other scientific apparatus of much of which we were obliged to ask the

Although Foedric was so much younger than Thorwald, he was taller and
larger every way--a magnificent specimen of a magnificent race. In
speaking to Thorwald he showed a proper respect for his greater age, and
he bore himself becomingly in the presence of Zenith; but there was not
the slightest sign of subserviency, nor anything to show that, though
engaged in what might be called a lowly occupation, he was not on terms
of perfect equality and even friendship with them. This easy poise of
manner would not have surprised us had we known what Thorwald soon told
us, and from this experience we learned never to judge a Martian by the
work he happened to be doing.

“Foedric is a scholar,” said Thorwald, “and is engaged just now in
writing a treatise on the color of sounds.”

This announcement was a double surprise, for we would have said, if he
was writing anything, that it must be something about ballooning--the
application of electricity to flying machinery, perhaps. But Thorwald
further enlightened us, the talk going on in Foedric’s presence:

“He was attracted to that subject by the fact that he possesses in a
striking degree the faculty of hearing color, which belongs only to
refined minds. We all have this power to some extent, but in this, as
in so many other things, there are great differences among us. As an
example of this power, if you will excuse me, Doctor, I will tell you
that your voice is dark blue, while yours,” he continued, turning to me,
“is yellow. Foedric, a true son of Mars, speaks red, and as for Zenith,
her soft, pink voice has always been to me one of her principal charms,
and though it would be folly to deny that she has changed some in
appearance (not for the worse, however) since I first knew her, her
voice has retained the same tone or color. I will ask Foedric if I am
correct in my impressions.”

“Quite correct,” answered Foedric. “When I first heard your friend, the
doctor, speak I thought his voice was brown, but it has changed since
to such an extent that I think as you do--that the prevailing tinge is
a deep blue. Such cases are not unknown among us, but they are not

“If the color of my voice sympathizes with my thoughts,” said the
doctor, “I do not wonder that your quick ears have noticed a change.”

“I ought to say,” resumed Foedric, “that I have to rely on my friends to
tell me the shade of my own voice, for to my ears it is as colorless as
a piece of the clearest glass, and this is the common experience.”

“I would like to ask about the color of Antonia’s voice,” I said, “and
Avis’s, too.”

“Antonia’s is a beautiful green,” answered Foedric, looking with a
smile at the fair one, “and Avis, both in song and speech, has your

“Foedric,” said Thorwald, “tell our friends what you and others are
trying to discover in connection with the air vibrations. It may be
suggestive to them.”

“I can claim but little part in the work,” Foedric responded, “but it
is this. Our ears report to our brain the air waves until they reach
a frequency of forty thousand in a second, and we call the sensation
sound. When the vibrations of the ether are more rapid than that, we
have no sense with which to receive the impression until they reach the
great number of four hundred million millions in a second. Then they
affect the eye and produce red light, and as they increase still more
the color becomes orange, then yellow, green, blue, and violet. Perhaps
your limitations are not the same as ours, but our scientists are trying
to discover some means by which we can arrest and make use of a small
part at least of those waves which strike our bodies at a frequency
between forty thousand and four hundred million millions. It is still an
unsolved problem, this search for another sense, and we are now
looking forward for help in the task to the studies of the civilization
represented in our comet.”

All this time we were rising slowly but hardly realizing it, being
filled with that peculiar sensation, incident to balloon journeys, by
which we could almost believe we were remaining about in the same place
and the solid ground was falling away from us.

Now Foedric increased our speed and showed us how easily he could
sail in any direction and at any rate he pleased, explaining to us the
mechanism by which we were upheld and propelled, and also the way
in which the current of electricity was generated and applied. They
certainly had a wonderful method of producing great power with little
weight, and the doctor eagerly drank in the information in regard to it,
as if for future use.

It was charming. The atmosphere was as clear as crystal, the air balmy
and the motion delightful, and if the Martians, with their purer
nature and keener senses, enjoyed the trip that morning more than we
earth-dwellers did, then their capacity for enjoyment must have been
beyond ours. The ship seemed to be under perfect control; there was
nothing uncertain in her movements, and as we went sailing along without
fear of harm, in the very poetry of motion, the doctor and I realized
over and over again that we had much to learn in this method of

Now we were riding at a good height, and our vision could take in a wide
expanse of land and water. The peculiarity of the surface of Mars was
noticeable, the seas being long, narrow inlets, as it were, running
through or between winding strings of land, a decided contrast to the
great oceans and noble continents of our mother earth. It seemed to
me that this was much to the advantage of the earth, and so I was bold
enough to say:

“When I used to look at a map of Mars, Thorwald, I remember thinking
that the planet was not a handsome one, whatever might be the character
of its inhabitants. But I have no doubt you have an answer for me which
will give some good reason for the peculiar structure of the surface of
Mars and make me ashamed of my sentimental preference for the earth.”

“I certainly hope you will hear nothing while you are with us to make
you ashamed of your own planet,” said Thorwald; “but I must tell you the
truth in regard to Mars. How do you like our climate, as far as you have
experienced it?”

“We have enjoyed it exceedingly,” I answered, “and I have been on the
point of remarking several times that we were fortunate in making our
visit here at so pleasant a season of the year.”

“But,” said Thorwald, “you could not have come in a worse season, for
we have none worse than this. The temperature varies enough to give
variety, but not enough in either direction to cause discomfort. Each
season is quite distinctive from the others, but each has its peculiar
charm and all are equally enjoyable. Our telescopes tell us it is not
so on the earth, for we can see the winter snow creep well down on its
surface and remain there several months, then go away and come on the
other hemisphere. We know this means great changes of climate, and as
the inclination of the axis of the earth to the plane of its orbit is
about the same as that of the axis of Mars, we believe we would have
equally violent changes were it not for the fortunate distribution of
land and water on our planet. All those narrow seas which disfigure our
surface in your eyes, are in reality vast rivers, which are constantly
bearing the water from one part of the globe to another. The warm water
of the equatorial regions is carried to the cold countries north and
south, and the water thus displaced cools in its turn the lands more
directly under the sun. Thus the temperature of all parts is nearly
equalized. In the summer in this latitude the water that washes our
shores is cool and in the winter it is warm, and the strips of land
are so narrow that all places feel the influence, making the climate
delightful everywhere. At each pole there is a spot of perpetual snow,
but these are comparatively small, and the fields are cultivated right
up to the foot of the snow hills.”

This recital excited the doctor’s interest amazingly, and as Thorwald
closed he said:

“I rather think my companion did not expect so complete an answer, but
I am glad his words suggested to you this statement, Thorwald. It is
of great value to us in our study of your remarkable planet. How
wonderfully God has adapted everything to your comfort and well-being!”

Thorwald smiled in appreciation of the doctor’s final words, but before
he had time to speak we were a little startled by the red voice of
Foedric, calling out:

“The moon! Look!”

It was nothing new for any of us now to look at our old moon. We had
seen it almost every day, had talked much about it, and thought the
novelty of its companionship to Mars about worn off. But our present
high position and the clear, thin atmosphere gave it quite a changed
appearance, as it was slowly coming into view above the horizon. We
watched it in silence for a while and saw it mount the eastern sky, and
I think all of us except Foedric had the same thought, that it appeared
to be much nearer than usual. Foedric had seen it before from the same
height, and knew when he called our attention to it that we were going
to be surprised.

As the moon rose still higher it appeared to be coming toward us,
instead of aiming at a point far over our heads, and our next sensation
was caused by Zenith, who mildly exclaimed:

“It cannot be more than a few miles away. Why not go and make it a

To her surprise, if people of such high endowments ever are surprised,
Thorwald asked quickly:

“Are you willing to try it if the rest of us are?”

“Certainly,” she replied.

“Foedric,” said Thorwald, “what do you say to flying out to the moon and
attempting an invasion of it?”

“I say,” answered Foedric, “that I am ready. We have provisions
enough for several days, and I believe the capacity of our battery is
sufficient for the trip.” Thorwald learned from Avis and Antonia that
they would not object to the trial, and then said:

“Well, we have a good majority, but must not think of deciding on so
important a step unless the feeling is unanimous. Let us hear from our
friends here, who have had some experience with the moon.”

The doctor said pleasantly that he should like nothing better than the
proposed experiment, and, as I was the last, I remarked that I could
not spoil such an interesting project by withholding my consent. But it
seemed to me all the time that the whole thing was a joke and that
it would end at once in a laugh. I thought of the cold and cheerless
surface of the moon, comparing it in my mind with the delectable world
we were leaving, and had no relish for the proposed trip. Something of
my feeling must have been reflected in my countenance, for Zenith, who
had been looking at me, said in a sympathetic tone:

“Although you gave your consent, you look as if you did not enjoy the
prospect of another visit to the moon.”

Thorwald heard this remark, and after a glance at me he said:

“You are right, Zenith, and I think we will abandon the idea at once.
We started out today for the purpose of entertaining the doctor and his
friend, and it would not become us to treat them to more of a ride than
they desire.”

“You are both excellent mind readers,” I responded. “And if I were as
honest as you Martians are, I suppose I should have said in the first
place that I preferred not to make such an extended journey. I suspect
the doctor is willing to go ahead, as he is too sensible to be affected
by such a feeling as now moves me. My thoughts turn back to our
departure from the earth in a balloon, and I cannot rid my mind of
the dreadful fear that perhaps we are now unconsciously bidding a long
farewell to Mars.”

Thorwald thanked me for my frankness and said they should certainly
respect my sentiment. He then stepped to Foedric’s side to speak to him
in regard to a change of course. At that moment I looked at the moon,
which had been rapidly approaching us. What was it that suddenly gave it
a deeper interest to me? A flash of intelligence suffused my being
like an electric shock, frilling my imagination with the most beautiful
vision and making the moon appear to me now as the one desirable place
in all the universe.

“Thorwald,” I exclaimed, “keep right on! I want to go now. I have
changed my mind.”

“Yes,” he responded, looking at me with a pleased smile, “and I see you
have changed your face, too. You look like quite another man. Why this
sudden transition?”

“Don’t you know? Mona is there.”


“In the moon, of course.”

“How do you know that? You seem to be pretty confident.”

“Why, she must be there. You couldn’t find her on land or water, and you
know you have no accidents in Mars, so she could not have come to any
harm there. I know we shall find her in the moon. She must have been
left behind in some way when the doctor and I were thrown off, and
now she is no doubt expecting us to come back to her. Oh, let us make

“Well,” answered Thorwald, “we were only waiting your consent, and we
can now keep on as we are going and try to reach the moon. But I must
give you a friendly warning not to let your hope get the better of your
judgment in regard to finding your friend.”

With this Thorwald and Foedric consulted a moment, and at once our speed
increased till we were flying at a fearful rate, but none too fast for
me. I knew now why I had been so reluctant to go so far away from
Mars. It was because I thought Mona was there; but now, with my present
opinion, the moon had suddenly changed its character and become to my
imagination a bright and beautiful world. To such a degree does love
transform the most unlovely objects.

I was struck with the easy way in which Zenith had accepted the result
of what I thought her sportive suggestion, and, not being able to fathom
her thoughts, I said to her:

“When we left home, this morning, you did not expect to be gone over
night. Have you no anxiety about the house and the children?”

“Oh, no,” she replied; “the house will not run away, nor the children
either. We do not often stay away from them over night, but we do not
hesitate to do so when we have a good reason for it. Our children know
us well enough to be sure we have such a reason now, and this faith
in us and in our safe return will permit us to stay away as long as we
please. As for our feelings, we have no such thing as anxiety, for all
our experience teaches us that no harm of any kind can come to our loved
ones. I suppose in such circumstances on the earth both the mother and
the children would have a feeling of great fear, caused by the fact that
there would be in reality some danger of harm, but here we have never
heard of such a thing, and even the word ‘danger’ has little meaning in
it to us, because all we know about it comes from our reading.” The moon
was now well above us, and we were making for a point in the western
sky where Foedric hoped to intercept it. We were already so far from
the planet that the air was getting weak, so we all put on breathing
machines. These were of such perfect construction that our lungs had
free play, nor were they cumbersome enough to interfere much with our

By this time the moon had grown so vastly, owing to our swift traveling,
that our friends began to be amazed at its enormous proportions. The
jagged, mountainous surface was plainly visible, a most uninviting place
for people accustomed to the serene beauty and felicity of the planet

“Remember,” said the doctor, “that you are not to judge the earth by
what you see of her old satellite.”

“Well,” answered Thorwald, “we mean to see what we can of the satellite.
Foedric, let us point the glass at it and be selecting a place to land.”

But Foedric was obliged to let Thorwald handle the glass alone, for his
attention was needed just now to manage our craft. He had discovered
that shutting off the power did not diminish the speed, and for a moment
he was puzzled, quite a new sensation for a Martian of that era. But he
soon studied out the difficulty and made the following announcement:

“I find this huge mass that we are approaching is pulling us toward its
surface, so that we are using but little power. I expect in a short time
we can merely fall to its surface.”

This suggested to Thorwald the very trouble that the doctor and I had
encountered with our balloon, and he asked Foedric if we could get away
again after we had dropped to the moon.

“Yes,” Foedric answered, “I am sure we have power enough here to
overcome the attraction and get away whenever we please.”

Thorwald, who had been intently studying the surface through the
telescope, now spoke out with some excitement in his voice:

“Doctor, I begin to think you did not make a thorough investigation of
the moon’s condition. Did you not report it practically uninhabited?”

“Our means of investigation were rather limited,” replied the doctor,
“but we surely found no inhabitants except poor Mona, whom, I am
confident, we shall never see again. Why do you ask? Are there any
signs of life visible? I have no doubt you Martians can see more at this
distance than we could when standing on the globe itself.”

“Well,” Thorwald answered, “either you reached wrong conclusions or else
a race has grown up there pretty rapidly. I cannot make out anything
definite yet, but there is smoke, I am sure, and I can see some object
moving about.”

I had great difficulty in restraining my feelings as Thorwald uttered
these words, but neither he nor the doctor seemed to realize what
significance they had for me. Both had apparently given up all
expectation of finding Mona anywhere, and these evidences of life, so
plain to me, were therefore inexplicable to them. I controlled myself
and begged Thorwald to let me look through the glass. He adjusted it
for me, but before I could get a satisfactory view our swift motion made
such a change in the appearance of the surface that Thorwald could not
find the same spot again.

As no one said a word to indicate any thought of connecting Mona with
the movements that Thorwald had observed, I determined that I would keep
quiet also and await the result of our landing. I let my thoughts fly to
my love, who, without doubt, had seen the approach of our air ship and
was expecting our speedy arrival. What an addition she would make to our
party, and how these Martians would study her history as she recounted
it in that exquisite voice. But I should claim a large share of her time
for myself. How glad I was to think that Foedric had so openly shown his
affection for Antonia. Surely I need not harbor the jealous feeling that
would arise, for so true a son of Mars could not fall to the level of
some earthly men, and be unfaithful to so noble a girl as Antonia. It
was beyond all reason, and yet my love for Mona, whom I thought we were
soon to find, was such that I undesignedly but still unmistakably made
up my mind to keep a close watch on handsome Foedric.



We were indeed approaching the surface with great rapidity, and Foedric
was obliged to put on power to prevent us from falling too swiftly.
Fortunately he was able to keep our ship under perfect management, and
so, without accident or even a shock, he brought us gently to land,
not far from the spot where Thorwald had seen the signs of life. It was
something new for the latter to show so much curiosity, but he could not
be more eager than I was to attempt to find out what we had seen through
the telescope. So, leaving the rest of the party, we two started out to
investigate. It was kind of Thorwald to take me along, because he could
ordinarily walk a great deal faster without me, but my love and hope now
added wings to my feet and I surprised him with my agility.

Thorwald’s skill in determining locality enabled him to choose the right
direction, and after quite a walk we ascended a considerable hill, from
which we were delighted to discover in the distance a small column of
smoke--a remarkable sight on that sterile shore. We hastened toward it,
Thorwald with high expectations of an important discovery, and I with a
heart beating with joyful anticipations of a different character.

As we approached the spot of such intense interest for us both, I
watched my companion closely to see how he would bear the disappointment
which I felt sure awaited him; and this, I think, made it a
little easier for me to endure my own grief, for, of course, I was
disappointed, too. I ought to have known better than to expect to find
Mona out on the bleak surface, when she had such a comfortable home
inside the moon. What we found at the end of our journey was merely
another party of Martians, who had stolen a march on us and made a prior
invasion of the moon. But so unselfish were they that when they saw our
ship afar off they began to make a smudge and smoke in order to attract
our attention and give us the opportunity of sharing with them the glory
of their anticipated discoveries. They were pleased with our success in
finding them, and proposed that we join our forces in a common camp. So,
leaving me, Thorwald returned for the rest of our party, and in due time
we were all together, conversing on the footing of old acquaintances.
The moon had improved somewhat since we knew it, as everything must
which remains in the vicinity of the planet Mars, but it was not yet,
as far as the outside, at least, was concerned, a desirable place for a
long sojourn.

Our new friends had, unlike us, started from home with the intention of
making the attempt to land on the moon, and, having come prepared with
tools for a little scientific work, had already begun investigating,
with a view to finding out whether the moon contained any vestiges of
life. They had heard of the doctor and me and the outlines of our story,
but now we had to relate to them in detail all our experience on the
moon, while I concluded my part of the narration with the statement of
my firm conviction that Mona was still in her quiet refuge, waiting for
us to return and rescue her. This interested them exceedingly, and they
were eager to join us in searching for her.

The members of our party, catching something of my hope, were ready
to enter at once upon this task, and it was decided to divide all our
forces into two companies, one to be led by the doctor and the other
by me, and then to start in different directions to try to find the
entrance to that long passage into the interior. As we knew not on what
part of the moon’s surface we had alighted, we were undertaking a
bold piece of work, but its apparent difficulty had no terrors for the
Martians, and I should not have hesitated if the circumference of the
moon had been a hundred times what it was. As for the doctor, he had too
much spirit to suggest any obstacles.

We arranged a code of signals, and agreed that if either party were
successful the other should be notified and the descent made only when
all had come together. After dividing the provisions we made our adieus
and separated, not knowing when we should see one another again.

But, fortunately, our elaborate preparations were not of much use, for
before we had been out an hour the doctor signaled to me that he
had found some familiar landmarks. This meant that he was sure of
discovering what we were in search of, and accordingly we started at
once to rendezvous with his company. On our arrival I recognized, with
exultant joy, the features of the landscape which had attracted the
doctor’s attention. We now led the way with complete assurance, and came
at length to the crater down whose side Mona had so strangely led us.
The wind was not so strong now, but I was none the less eager to descend
and enter that dark way, at the other end of which such happiness
awaited me. By this time, also, the whole party were becoming enthused
over the situation. When they came to see, one after another, features
which they had heard us describe, they acquired a personal interest
which had been impossible before, and everyone began to share my faith
in regard to Mona.

As we entered the tunnel, the doctor and myself still in the lead, I
called Avis and asked her to keep as near me as possible.

“I am flattered,” she said, “but what do you want to have me do?”

“Sing,” I answered.

“What for? You needn’t be afraid of the dark, for we can give you light

And at that instant out flashed half a dozen lamps from different
members of the party, a timely illustration of the use of their portable

“No, Avis,” I said, “I am not afraid, but I would like to recall
something of the sensation of our first descent into the moon, when we
were led, as you know, by the sound of beautiful music. And then, as
we near the end, Mona may hear you, and that would be a more gentle
introduction than if we should burst upon her unannounced. I know she
is not subject to fear or the usual emotions to which I have been
accustomed on the earth, but still I think she would like to have us
come back to her heralded by your noble song.”

Seeing how serious I was in the matter, Avis promised to do as I wished,
only suggesting that all the rest should join her from time to time. So,
without any unpleasant incident, we traversed the long passage, walking
rapidly by the aid of the light and conversing about our interesting
situation. It was a rare and pleasing experience for the doctor and
me to be showing these wise Martians something new, and we enjoyed the
novel sensation of watching their excitement. The fact that we could so
satisfactorily entertain our friends after their own fashion with us was
something long to be remembered.

But not another one of all the company had the intensity of feeling
which filled my breast. Knowing that every downward step was leading me
rapidly toward a determination of my fate, I could scarcely control my
emotions. Either I was soon to find my heart’s life and be raised to the
highest pinnacle of happiness, or I was to undergo a disappointment from
which I might not recover. For if Mona was not here, where could I look
for her? Could I ever regain my hopeful spirits if I should lose her
now? I tried to crowd out these dark forebodings by thinking of my love
and trying to picture the scene in the midst of which we should discover

At length we were drawing near the end. The path was growing wider,
which proved to the doctor and me that we should soon emerge into the
open village. Indeed, a faint gleam of light was beginning to be seen
far in the front. We now pushed on more rapidly, and as we approached
the exit Avis was singing at her highest pitch. She stopped suddenly,
and then a low and distant strain came to us, sweet even to the ears of
our cultured friends from Mars. My heart beat wildly as Thorwald, who
was close behind us, exclaimed:

“Hark, hear the echo!”

“Ho!” I cried, “that’s not an echo. That’s the original, and Avis is the
echo. Sing out again, Avis.”

A loud, clear note trembled on the air, and brought back to our
straining sense, not a repetition of itself but a snatch of varied
melody which showed it to be no echo, although evidently an answer.
There have been few moments in my life more crowded with happiness than
that one. And it was not a passive feeling of enjoyment, but one that
spurred me to action. The swift pace which we had all by this time
reached was now too slow for me. Seized again by the same fierce passion
which took possession of me at my first acquaintance with Mona’s voice,
I started in her direction on a run, flinging aside everything that
might impede me, so overmastered was I by my desire to see her.

But my unreasonable haste brought me a grievous reward. I leaped over
the ground with great rapidity for a few minutes, and then, stepping on
a treacherous stone, turned my ankle and fell heavily to the ground, my
head, thrust forward in running, being the first point of contact with
the cruel rocks.

I returned to consciousness by degrees. My faithful ears were, as usual,
the first friends to renew acquaintance with me, and the sound they
brought was so soothing that I wished for nothing more than to remain as
I was, ears only, and listen to it forever. But this was impossible, as
I was slowly recovering my other senses and becoming a thinking being
once more. I now recognized the pleasant sound as the music of a
familiar voice; yes, it was Mona’s voice in conversation. I was sure of
that, but it seemed so natural that I was not startled. I felt that I
must remain perfectly quiet, or the spell would be broken and the
music cease. Then I began to wonder where I was and who were with me. I
recalled the circumstances of our descent into the moon and my fall as
I was running to meet Mona. My mind was active, but I feared that I was
physically weak, for I did not seem to have even a desire to move. I
wanted to see the face of the dear girl, and it is remarkable that I
did not open my eyes at once and call her by name. But I was not in a
natural state. The feeling was not sufficiently strong to move me to
action. I was just conscious enough to be passively happy, content to
lie there quietly and enjoy one thing at a time.

Hitherto I had not tried to distinguish the words, so satisfied was I
with the exquisite tones, but now my attention was compelled by this
yellow expression:

“So I understand you to say he would not give me up as lost?”

It was the pink voice of Zenith that answered:

“No, indeed. He never faltered in his faith that you would be found. You
owe it to him that you can soon leave this worn-out world with us, and
we are indebted to him for giving us such a dear friend.”

“And he admired my singing?” said Mona in a questioning tone.

“Yes, and everything pertaining to you. He never tired of rehearsing
your perfections, and the doctor tells us he loved you from the very
first. He certainly seems most devoted to you. I hope, my dear, that you
love him.”

I was now recovered enough to feel some compunctions about listening
further to this conversation, but that is not saying that I had any
great desire to stop listening. I knew that in Mona’s answer to Zenith’s
implied question lay my fate, and my moral doubts were not strong enough
to make me do anything to keep it back. It has been said on the earth
that people who surreptitiously hear themselves spoken of are never
pleased, but things must be quite different inside the moon, for,
without a shadow of hesitation and in the sweetest air that ever floated
from her lips, came Mona’s answer:

“Love him? Certainly I love him. Why should I not? I loved him when he
was here before, and I should be very ungrateful if I did not care a
great deal more for him when I know what he has done for me, and that he
now lies here suffering for my sake.”

“Oh, Mona,” I said to myself, “if this be suffering, let me never know

Zenith began to speak again, when she was interrupted by the opening
of a door. I heard someone walk towards me, and then the doctor’s voice
broke the silence.

“How is he, Mona? Is there any change?”

“No,” replied my beloved, “he hasn’t stirred nor shown a sign of
consciousness. Cannot something more be done for him?”

I was becoming a little hardened in my guilt by this time, and, although
my strength seemed now to be returning to me, I decided to keep still
yet longer and hear what words of wisdom the doctor would utter on my

“I know of nothing that can be done,” he said. “He received no injury
except the wound on his head, and that, apparently, is not serious.
Time is the great healer in such cases. My chief fear is that when he
recovers consciousness we will find his memory is defective, as it was
after his plunge into your ocean, Zenith. He will doubtless forget how
we ever got into this strange place, and I am almost sure he will not
recognize Mona, for that was the direction in which he failed before.”

“But you forget,” said Zenith, “that Mona herself will be here to sing
for him.”

“I fear not even that will recall his wandering wits this time. You know
he is more badly hurt than before. I dislike to cause you pain, Mona,
but I must be frank and tell you that our friend will probably never
know you again.”

One would naturally expect Mona to have burst into tears at this
hopeless prospect, but instead of that she sang out, as joyously as

“Never mind me, Doctor. Only restore him to health and happiness, and
it will be of little moment whether he remembers me or not. No one knows
better than you do that I am always happy, that’s why I am singing all
the time.”

Such unselfishness as this was more than I could appreciate, and rather
more, I thought, than was called for by the circumstances. How could she
love me so, and still not care if I never were to know her again? Was
she the same Mona, after all, who had so provokingly eluded my love
during my former visit? These reflections caused me to decide to come to
life, and claim her as mine before she resigned all her interest in me.

So, opening my eyes and looking in her face, I said, as quietly as

“I do remember you, dear Mona, and shall never forget you. Doctor, you
see your science has proved false again.”

“And glad indeed I am that it has,” he rejoined, “since it is so greatly
to our advantage.”

Then they all gathered around me, and called the others to a general
rejoicing over my sudden recovery. My physical injury was but slight,
and it was not long before my stupor was entirely gone and I was moving
about again. Aside from the finding of Mona, many other things in this
place of her abode interested the different members of our party. All
were jubilant over the new opportunities for study and investigation,
and they promised themselves the pleasure of many more visits to the
place in the future. They had now seen enough for once, and all wanted
to join in the agreeable task of escorting Mona to Mars and introducing
her there. So, without more delay, we ascended to the surface once more,
found our air ships in good order, and soon sailed away, leaving the
moon without an inhabitant.

Our friends from the antipodes landed with us, and remained some days
before reembarking for home.

During our voyage down there was a general agreement to give me plenty
of opportunity to remain in Mona’s immediate company, though no one
seemed to think we need feel at all embarrassed when our conversation
was overheard by others.

“Mona,” I said, “were you glad to see our relief party when they

“I was indeed,” she replied, “and yet I was as happy as a bird, living
there all by myself and singing for my own amusement the whole day

“It is an astonishing thing to me,” I continued, “that after the doctor
and I had left you so unceremoniously you could go back to your lonely
home and be happy there.”

“Why, did you think I would mourn for you?”

“Well, yes, I think that would be natural, considering something I

“Oh, I should like to hear what you know.”

“If I tell you, I shall have to make a confession.”

“What is a confession, and how can you make one? Have you anything to
make it of?”

“Oh, yes,” I replied, laughing. “A confession is an acknowledgment that
one has done something wrong, and should be made to the person to whom
the wrong has been done.”

“Well,” said Mona, “if that is it, I am sure I shall never have to make
one, for I have never done anything wrong.”

This agreed so well with my conception of her that I did not then take
in the full meaning of her words, but said in reply:

“But I have, and this is one thing when you were talking to Zenith about
me and thought I was unconscious I was recovering, and lay quite still
so as to hear what you said.”

“And did I say anything to displease you?”

“No, indeed; you said you loved me, and it made me very happy.”

“Oh, I remember now. Zenith said she hoped I loved you, and I told her
I did. I have always loved you, of course, but I don’t see how that can
make you happy.”

“That’s singular,” I answered. “I should think you would understand my
feeling from your own. But never mind. You and I will be lovers from
this time forth, and give the people of Mars an example of devotion
worth considering, will we not?”

“You do make the funniest speeches,” she replied. “I don’t know half the
time what you mean. But I am getting tired of sitting so long. Here is
Antonia. You talk to her about love, and I’ll go over and see Foedric.”

The lightness of her manner, when I was so deeply in earnest, gave me a
feeling of uneasiness, which was increased when I saw her easy, familiar
way with Foedric and heard her merry song as she chatted with him. I was
not very pleasant company for Antonia, for I could not prevent a return
of that dreadful jealousy. I wondered if this was always to be the
history of my wooing--an hour of the supremest happiness, followed so
speedily by a period of such anguish. I could not possibly talk on any
other subject, and so I said to Antonia:

“They seem well pleased with each other’s society. Are you not afraid
Foedric will lose his heart to her?”

“My friend,” she replied, “we never even think of such things as that. I
hope you are not serious in asking the question.”

“Forgive me, Antonia,” I answered; “I hardly know what I am saying.”

And then I rose and followed Mona, and said to her when I came near:

“Well, my dear, what do you and Foedric find so pleasant to talk about?”

“Why, you see,” she replied, “Foedric was the first one to find me after
you were hurt, and has been very kind to me since, and I have just been
telling him I love him. You said it made you happy to hear me say it
to you, and I wanted to make him happy too. And then I wanted to see if
Foedric would make such funny speeches as you did.”

I controlled myself enough to ask:

“And what did Foedric say?”

“Why, his answer made me laugh more than yours did. He said it would
make you unhappy to know I had said such a thing to him. I replied that
I would tell you myself, and that you were always happy when I said
anything to you; and then you came up just in time.”

“Now, Mona, do you think it is right to make sport of such a serious

“I assure you I am in earnest in all I have said.”

“Then are you trying to deceive Foedric?”

“Deceive him? What is that?”

“Telling him what isn’t true.”

“No, indeed. I would never do that.”

“It is true, then, that you love him?”

“Certainly it is; isn’t it, Foedric?”

I did not wait for Foedric to answer, but continued:

“And still a short time ago you said you loved me.”

“Well, is that any wonder, after what you have done for me?”

“But do you love us both at once?”

“I do.”

“And do you love Foedric as much as you do me?”

“Certainly. Why shouldn’t I? And now let me ask you a question. Do you
love me?”

“With all my heart.”

“Then why do you bother me so, asking all these questions, and saying
things I don’t understand? You appear to be surprised to find that I
love Foedric. Why, I love everybody. What am I going to do, if I cannot
love people as much as I want to?”

“You shall, Mona,” I replied, with a sudden softening of my heart toward
her. “I was only going to suggest that, if you love Foedric, Antonia may
not like you so well.”

Foedric began to protest that Antonia would not care, but Mona went
right on with:

“Another complication. What possible difference could it make to

“Why, Antonia and Foedric love each other, you know.”

“Oh, they love each other, and therefore no one else can love either of
them. Is that it? But you have just been talking with Antonia. Don’t you
love her?”

“Oh, no,” I replied hastily. “Or, at any rate, not in the same way that
I love you.”

“Not in the same way. That’s another remark that I can’t see any sense
in. I must say for myself that I have but one way in which to love, and
that is with my whole heart, without reserve or qualification. I cannot
parcel out my love, a little to one, a little more to another, and so
on. It all goes out to everyone. I couldn’t be happy if I should try to
restrain it. I think it must be like this delicious sunlight, which I am
just beginning to enjoy, an equal comfort to all who choose to partake
of it. I love you dearly. What can I do more? If I love others, I am
not robbing you--take all you want, and then there will be just as much

“Mona,” I asked, as she finished, “where did you get such a heart? You
are showing me how utterly selfish I have been.”

“Good-by,” she exclaimed; “I am going back to Antonia. May I love her?”

“You may love everybody,” I answered, as she left me with an exquisite
note on her lips.

Foedric and I fell into conversation about her. Foedric praised her to
the skies, saying that, if this were a fair specimen, the inhabitants of
the moon must have been a remarkable people, and that it was unfortunate
that they had so nearly passed from the stage.

When I found opportunity to think over the situation I concluded that
I had given my heart to a peculiar being, and what had I received in
return? She loved me--that was certain. But what kind of love was this,
which had no respect to persons? I knew I could claim no exclusive right
to the least corner of her heart, and yet she said: “All my heart is
yours. What more can you ask?” I was not able to solve the riddle of
her mysterious nature, but as I heard her tuneful voice and watched her
beautiful face as she talked with Antonia, the very picture of innocent
happiness, I realized with great intensity that I loved her more than
ever. And I resolved to be patient, and try to lead her gradually into
the way of loving which prevailed on the earth at the time we left it.

In due time we landed on the ruddy planet, and there was great diversion
for us all in seeing Mona’s continued astonishment and in hearing her
varied song.

It seemed almost like home to enter Thorwald’s house again, where we
found everything just as we had left it. The children did not exhibit
any astonishment at our long absence, but were glad to see us back and
eager to hear about our adventures.

The next morning after our arrival Thorwald gave us a long ride in an
electric carriage to show Mona the country. Returning, we took her about
the large house and were all delighted to hear her naive remarks. At
length Zenith asked Thorwald if he could not think of something that
would interest us all.



“Let us step into the music room,” said Thorwald. “Doctor, what
acquaintance have you with the telephone?”

“We think we have brought the telephone to a considerable degree of
perfection,” said the doctor. “At first it was rather crude, and many
preferred to forego its use in order to escape its annoyances. But of
recent years great improvements have been made, until its employment is
now a pleasure, as well as an essential help in our business and social

“Does it minister to any other sense than the hearing?”

“It does not, although I have seen a vague promise somewhere of an
invention by which we could see an image of the person we were speaking

“If that is all, I shall be able to give you a pleasant surprise,”
 pursued Thorwald. “Just sit in those chairs, and do nothing but keep
your eyes open and listen.”

We saw him arrange a series of long panels, in which were elegant
mirrors, and then, as he gently pulled an ivory knob, there fell
upon our ears, very faintly, like distant echoes, strains of the most
delicious music. Gradually the tones became louder and more defined,
and Zenith, with a quick smile and glance, directed our attention to the
opposite side of the room. There our wondering eyes beheld the orchestra
with whose notes we were then enchanted. There must have been a hundred
players or more, and we seemed to be looking upon them from a distance
which would bring the whole group within the bounds of the room. It
was not a picture thrown on a screen, but was as if the musicians were
actually present. Every motion made with their instruments was in exact
accord with the accompanying note, and, wherever this orchestra might
have its local habitation, it was certainly playing before our little
audience that morning.

As the selection ended the scene faded away under the manipulation of
Thorwald, and in a moment the room was filled with a harmony of voices
such as I had never heard on the earth. And now the great chorus
appeared, crowding this time three sides of the apartment and rising,
tier on tier, to the ceiling. We could see the glad faces of the singers
and knew how they must be enjoying their work. Brilliant solo parts
burst out from one side and the other, and again from the middle throng,
but it was impossible to tell from what individual singers these notes

When this scene, too, had passed and the music, all too soon, had
ceased, Thorwald made haste to answer the inquiry he saw in our faces by

“These concerts are now being given in two cities, both of them several
thousand miles east of here, so far that it is now afternoon there. If
we desire music after dinner this evening we can make connection with
some city west of us, and by going farther west we can invoke sweet
sounds to soothe us to sleep. Being connected with all the musical
centers, you can see how, by trying either one direction or the other,
we can have something worth hearing at any hour of the day or night,
with the players and singers themselves employed, of course, only in the
daytime. We have daily programmes of every concert sent us by telephone.
They are received here, you see, and printed automatically on these

Zenith had watched us with eager interest during this marvelous
exhibition. It was a novel experience, for they had never before had
the opportunity of showing this perfected invention to those entirely
ignorant of it, and they both enjoyed seeing the pleasure which must
have beamed from our faces. I wanted to say something, but could think
of nothing fit for the occasion, and was relieved to hear the doctor

“My good friends,” said he, “do not try to show us anything beyond this
or we shall lose our mental balance. I believe in fairyland now, for I
have just come from there. I never paid much attention to music on the
earth, and did not feel any shame for it either, but I am now sure it
will be to my everlasting disgrace if I neglect it another day.”

This speech pleased Zenith exceedingly, and her emotion made her voice
and manner more charming than ever as she said:

“If you stay with us, Doctor, you shall have plenty of good music, and
you will soon become not only a music lover but a music maker, for every
Martian is proficient in this art.”

“Do you think,” asked the doctor, “that there is the faintest hope that
the earthly music will ever reach the high standard of that we have just

“Thorwald has told me something of your history,” Zenith replied, “and
I share his strong faith in your happy destiny. It seems to me that
your race is equal to any achievement you have witnessed here, and even
greater things, but it will take much time. Such changes are very slow.
As for us, we hope we are still making advancement in music. We have
few higher employments, and hardly one in which we are more entirely
engrossed. It was given to us at an early stage of our development,
and all through our troubled course music has been one of the chief
influences for good. It has helped to keep hope alive during the darkest
periods of our history, and has always been a mighty incentive toward a
higher spiritual state. As your race advances I am sure you will
realize more and more the beauty and value of this art, heaven-born and

We all smiled at Zenith’s happy assurance that the earth was on the
upward path, and Thorwald said:

“You see hope is contagious. But as we have been through all your
present troubles and have triumphed over them, it is perhaps easier for
us to believe in you than for you to believe in yourselves.

“And now, should you like to see how the telephone works in every-day

On our replying in the affirmative, Thorwald turned a switch, waited
a moment, turned it again, and then there appeared before our eyes a
familiar object, nothing less than the ship in which we had made our
recent voyage. A number of the men, whom we recognized, were walking
about the deck, and one stood apart, near the side of the vessel,
conversing with Thorwald, the words of both being audible to us. When
they were through, the scene faded away and Thorwald said:

“As soon as the ship reached its dock connection was made with the
general system of wires, and the instrument, which is stationed near the
place where the man was standing, was ready for use.

“So, whenever we desire to talk to our friends, we summon them to
our presence. You see it is not necessary to speak directly into the
transmitter. We can sit comfortably in our chairs and converse as easily
as when our friends are actually present.”

“Let me ask you, Thorwald,” said the doctor, “how all the electricity
you use is generated? The immense quantity you employ must necessitate
a great deal of power to produce it. Is there a huge plant in every city
driven by steam?”

“No,” answered Thorwald. “We make no use of steam in these days. All
the power we need is obtained from natural waterfalls and rapids. This
power, which nature has placed ready made at our hand, is so abundant
that it can never be exhausted.”

“These waterfalls must fortunately be well distributed,” remarked the

“Not more so, I presume, than on the earth,” Thorwald made answer.
“Every stream that runs in its bed has in it a power proportioned to the
volume of water and the swiftness of its current. Think of the amount
of water wasted every day in this way--no, not wasted, but unused. We
do not need, however, to utilize ordinary streams, as there are enough
great falls where power is transformed into electricity to be sent over
wires to any distance required. In every city or district large storage
facilities are provided from which power can be obtained for all
possible purposes. Our beds of coal and wells of oil were long since
exhausted, but while rain falls and water runs this power can never fail

“Doctor, what is the best metal you have for transmitting electricity?”

“Copper,” answered my companion. “Silver is a little better conductor,
and a new metal, called glucinium, is better still, but both of these
are too expensive for general use. Our telegraph and telephone wires
were formerly made of iron for the sake of economy, but copper is now
used for these lines, as well as for distributing electricity on a
large scale. The copper wire now commonly used for the telegraph has a
resistance of something like four ohms to the mile.”

“You are making good progress,” said Thorwald. “But we have a metal of
such good conducting qualities that, without making the wire too large
for convenient use, we have reduced the resistance to an ohm to the

“That is an exceedingly valuable metal,” the doctor said. “And now let
me ask you a practical question. You say you draw your electricity for
a thousand and one uses from a large storage plant in each city. Do you
pay for it by the kilowatt, or how is it measured?”

“We ask for so many watts or kilowatts, and it is also measured by the
watt hour. But are you serious in asking if we pay for it?”

“Why, you surely do not mean it is given away,” exclaimed the doctor,
“after all the expense connected with producing and transmitting it.”

“Yes, I mean that whatever quantity we want to use is ours for the
asking. Before we could buy it some one would have to own it, and that
could never be. Besides, how could we buy anything without money?”

“What! No money either?” broke in the doctor again. “Well, if you can
get along without money, that accounts in my mind for much of your
happiness. Just think of that,” continued the doctor, turning to me, “to
be forever rid of money and all the trouble it brings.”

“Of what value would it be to us?” asked Thorwald. “We could not use

“Some of our people on the earth,” replied the doctor, “have oceans of
it which they cannot use, and still they seem to think it is of much
value. It is an inherent characteristic of our race to love the mere
possession of money or other property, and human nature must change
a great deal before we can begin to reach the exalted moral condition
which you now enjoy, to say nothing of your spiritual state.”

“Your nature will change,” said Thorwald, “and do not doubt that the
change has already begun. Time is what you need, and there is time
enough for everything.”

After the midday lunch had been served we were invited to take a walk
about the grounds. As the doctor and I were admiring the beautiful lawns
and gorgeous beds of flowers, and then stood enraptured at the sight of
the noble mansion itself, Zenith watched us eagerly, and finally said,
with a smile:

“You discovered my favorite department of art this morning. Now is a
good time to learn what Thorwald’s is.”

“Judging from what we have already seen and heard of your husband,” said
I, “it seems to me he must be an astronomer, or, if not that, then a
theological professor.”

“If he has been talking to you on either of those subjects,” she
returned, “I have no doubt he told you things worth taking home with
you, but his pet topics of study are architecture and its sister art,
landscape gardening. This house is a creature of his brain, and all the
artistic effects in color and pattern, which I know you have the taste
to admire, are of his designing.”

The simple, unaffected manner in which Zenith showed her pride in her
husband’s achievements was refreshing, and the knowledge she imparted
only added still more to our high appreciation of our friend.

It was now time for Thorwald to speak, and he remarked quietly:

“It is true that I love architecture. It is another occupation of which
we can never tire and whose resources we can never fathom. A beautiful,
dignified, and truly artistic building is one of the highest possible
products of our civilization, and such work brings out all the poetic
feeling in one’s nature, just as the production of a fine painting or
piece of sculpture does. These arts, and literature as well, all have
their special devotees among us, but everyone knows enough of all arts
to appreciate and enjoy good work in every department.

“We build truthfully, and this helps to make what we build beautiful,
for truth is beautiful wherever it is found; and beauty is an object to
be sought after for its own sake, an enjoyable thing well worth striving
for. Religion and art, using both those terms in a comprehensive sense,
have worked together, through all our history, to lift up our souls and
fit them for higher and higher duties.”

“Thorwald,” said Zenith, “I think our friends would enjoy seeing some
of our imposing buildings and other works of art while this subject is
before them.”

That this was not a suggestion that we should start on an extended tour
of the country was proved by Thorwald, who said:

“Very well, we will then go into the music room again, if you please.”

Here we were shown, by the new powers of the telephone, a bewildering
succession of the grandest structures our imagination could picture:
churches and cathedrals, college buildings, observatories, museums,
music halls and private residences. These were not like pictures or
views; but the structures themselves, in full perspective and in all the
richness of their coloring, seemed to stand before us. Trees waving in
the breeze, people and carriages passing in the streets and occasionally
a movement at a window or door, all aided the illusion and made it
difficult to realize that we were not in the midst of the scenes we were
gazing upon.

Thorwald or Zenith told us the name or purpose of each building as it
appeared, and the novel exhibition closed with the presentation of a
large and splendid playhouse.

As this was announced I involuntarily exclaimed:

“So you have kept the theater, have you? Some good people on the earth
think the drama is demoralizing.”

“That,” said Zenith, “is probably because you have allowed it to become
debased. We read in our histories of such a period here. Indeed, for
a long time both the play and the opera were abolished, our advancing
civilization having given them up under the impression that the good
in them was overbalanced by the evil. But when the era of a more noble
personal character had come the drama was revived, and now is not only a
source of innocent pleasure but is also a decided help to our growth.

“I recognize the house we are now looking at. It is in quite a distant
city, and I see Thorwald has purposely chosen it because at this moment
an able company is presenting there one of our most popular plays. Would
you like to hear some of it?”

No sooner were these words uttered than we saw Thorwald make a slight
movement of the switch, and, lo! the scene was changed to the interior
of the building, and there before us was the Martian theater in full
play. We sat as it were in the dress circle, with the orchestra and
stage in our front. All was beauty and life around us, and the richness
and harmonious coloring of the whole interior were simply beyond
description. The play was going on in a quiet, dignified manner and
every word and gesture were characterized with the greatest naturalness.
It struck the doctor and me as a peculiar feature that, while we could
hear everything that was said on the stage and even the rustle of
the people around us, we ourselves could talk and laugh without being
noticed. This effect was produced by an ingenious attachment to the
telephone, and the doctor was moved to remark:

“This is an altogether comfortable and satisfactory situation.”

“Yes,” added Zenith, “we think it is almost as good as being actually
present in the theater.”

We assured her it was better, in our opinion, and then we thanked them
both for the pleasure they had given us. But we began to think their
resources for entertaining their friends would never be exhausted when
Thorwald told us he would, at some future time, show us specimens of
their paintings, sculpture, fine porcelain, elegant furniture, and many
other works of art.

One morning, a few days later, as we were rising from breakfast,
Thorwald said:

“Well, my friends, I suppose you will go to church with us to-day?”

“To church?” asked we in one breath.

“Yes, this is Sunday.”

“Oh, is it?” I said. “I began to think you didn’t have Sunday here. It
is now eight days since our return from the moon, and this is the first
we have heard of it.”

“Let me see,” said Thorwald, “I believe this is the first Sunday we have
spent at home since you came to us.”

“Then how long is your week?”

“Ten days.”

“That accounts for our misunderstanding,” I said, “for our Sunday comes
every seventh day.”

“That is an odd number,” returned Thorwald. “With us the week is the
basis of our decimal method of reckoning. We have one hundred minutes in
an hour and ten hours in a day.”

Of course we were ready to go to church, and when we were on the way,
seated in a comfortable carriage, the doctor said to Thorwald:

“If for any reason you do not care to go out on Sunday, I suppose you
can all repair to your music room, turn that little switch, and listen
to the best preacher and the best church music in the land. But do not
imagine by that remark that we have any fault to find with this method
of going to church. For my part, I think I prefer it.”

“I perceive,” answered Thorwald, “that you have a good idea of the
capabilities of the telephone, but I shall have to correct you in this
case. Our instruments are not connected with any of the churches. But
to-morrow we can get, by asking through the telephone, phonograph rolls
of any sermons that are delivered to-day. If we preferred we could get
them in print, but the phonograph is pleasanter. This instrument is
now so perfect that the imitation of the speaker’s words and tones is
faultless. The works of all our authors can be obtained in this form,
and our libraries consist in great part of phonograph rolls. Even the
poets of former generations speak to us, and the voice of the singer
adds its charm to the song.

“But you will want to ask me why we do not extend the use of the
telephone to the churches. We learned long ago that it is a good thing
for people to come together for worship and that nothing will take the
place of it. We do not go for an intellectual treat nor to enjoy the
music, but only for worship, and we try to keep our forms simple yet
dignified and as fitting as possible in all ways. Some day I must tell
you through what difficulties we have passed in church ceremonies and
church government.”



It was delightful to live in the same world with Mona, not for me only
but for every one who knew her. No one could help loving her; there was
simply nothing else to do. Others did not make as much show of their
affection as I did, perhaps because no one else was selfish enough
to claim the same personal rights in her, but I found every new
acquaintance she made succumbed to the power of her many charms. The
secret of this general homage was her own loving nature, which just
worked itself out spontaneously, but the more her love was shed abroad
the more she retained for new-comers. At first my naturally jealous
disposition continued to give me long hours of anguish, but I happily
was able to overcome this to a great extent as I became better
acquainted with her marvelous spirit.

Although I was at that time too much under the spell of this fair
creature to form an unprejudiced judgment of her, I have since then
attempted something of the kind, in comparing her in my mind with
Antonia and others whom we met in Mars. Let me say that the Martians are
not a perfect race. With our undeveloped spiritual natures we could not,
during our entire visit, see any imperfections in them; but, as will be
seen further on in this narrative, our good friends Thorwald and Zenith,
under whose instructions kind fortune had placed us, were particular
to tell us that their race had reached only an advanced state of
civilization, to which the earth might one day attain, and that
perfection was still a dream of the future. Taking Antonia, then, as
a representative of her kind, I can see that she had a solidly formed
character. She was what she was, not because she could not help it but
because she herself willed it. That is, when she might have done wrong
she chose to do right. Her connection with temptation was not entirely
through her remote ancestors, whose sins filled such a large page in
their history, but she herself had felt drawings toward evil. Yet so
slightly had she yielded, and so strongly had her right years of living
buttressed her against all kinds of wrong, that she, as well as all of
her race whom we saw, appeared to us about perfect. Theoretically she
might transgress, but practically it was all but impossible. Hers, then,
was a truly noble character, and when she gave her love to Foedric he
had good reason to be proud of the gift. Nor did she defraud others of
their due, but her heart was open to every proper call.

Such was Antonia, one whom we could in some degree appreciate, although
so far above us. But how could we understand a being like Mona, who told
us, and we saw no reason to disbelieve her, that she had never known
what it was to do wrong? She seemed as incapable of evil as the birds of
the air, or, to make the comparison still stronger, as a beautiful rose.
She was guileless by nature, and goodness and truth were as much a part
of her as her beauty was. She was made to be a joy and comfort to every
creature brought within the circle of her influence, and she could no
more help loving than the sun can help shining. All who came near her
received a share of her gracious beams.

She was unselfish and full of sympathy and every right feeling, not
because she had seen the evils of selfishness and meanness, but because
these latter qualities were utterly unknown to her. Her high character
and perfectly correct life, therefore, were not the result of reason and
choice, but were the instinctive manifestations of her pure nature.

I do not undertake to say which of these two presented the higher type
of womanhood, and I certainly entered into no such speculations about
them at that time, but I never had any difficulty in deciding that
Mona was the one I loved. I did not, of course, relish her fondness for
others. In that respect I considered her nature altogether too ardent,
but I found I must get accustomed to it, as she would not change.

It made me quite despondent at times, fearing I could never lead her to
feel any special liking for me. Then when she smiled upon me and sang so
sweetly to me, I thought I ought to be happy though I had to share her
heart with all the world. Still I did not relax my efforts to make my
share larger.

“Mona,” I said, one day, “I wish you would ask me to do something real
hard for you.”

“Why?” she asked.

“So that I could show you how much I love you.”

“But you have already shown me,” she said. “I cannot think of anything
more difficult than you have done. Did you not keep up a firm belief
that I would be found, even after the doctor and these wise men of Mars
had lost all hope, and did you not, by your enthusiasm, prevail on them
to enter on a difficult search for me on the moon? I have heard all
about your deep concern for me and how you were affected by hearing
singing which you thought was like mine. And now that I have been found,
you are so watchful for my comfort and like to be so near me all the
time, that I am sure I do not need any further proof of your strong
attachment. But why do you pay me so much attention? Why do you not like
to be with Antonia as much as with me?”

“Because I do not love her as much as I do you.”

“Why do you love me so? Because I took you down to my quiet home and
saved you from being blown off the top of the moon?”

“No, the doctor and I are both grateful to you for that kindness, but
gratitude isn’t love.”

“I haven’t done anything else for you,” she said.

“It isn’t for anything you have done that I love you.”

“What then?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I suppose it is because I can’t help it.”

“Oh, then you are becoming like me, for I can’t help loving everybody.”

“I shall never be good enough for that,” said I.

“What is love, as you understand it?” asked Mona.

“Love--love,” I hesitated; “why, it is the feeling I have in my heart
for you. Love is what kept hope alive when you were lost and gave me
such joy when I heard your voice and knew we had found you. Love makes
every task light that is done for you and every place where you are the
brightest spot in the universe. Even this delightful world of Mars is
more beautiful than ever because you are here. Love, if mutual, is
a precious bond, uniting two hearts and making them beat in harmony.
Cannot you and I be joined in heart, Mona?”

“My dear friend,” she replied, “I am very sorry I cannot share your
feeling, but I do not understand such love as you have been trying to

“Then I fear you do not love me,” I responded, with great sadness in my

“Oh, don’t say that,” she exclaimed. “Indeed I do love you. Now, how can
I prove it to you? What is the opposite of love?”

“Hatred; or, in such a case as this, indifference would be about as bad
as anything.”

“Well, I don’t know much about such things, but do I seem like a person
who could hate you or be indifferent to you?”

“No, Mona, you seem to be the most loving creature in all the worlds we
have ever known, but--”

“Oh, do not spoil that fine speech with a ‘but.’ I know what you want
to say. You think I ought to love you more than anyone else, or in some
different way. Now, that desire of yours is what I cannot understand.
I love everybody alike because I know of no other sentiment. So it is a
matter of course with me, and I do not feel obliged to tell people that
I love them. You seem to make too much of it, coming to me everyday and
telling me, over and over again, that you love me, just as if I doubted
it. Why do you like to be with me so much? Do you think it is right to
be so exclusive? You ought to favor the others with your company. As for
me, I must say I prefer Foedric’s society to yours, because he has so
many interesting things to talk about, while you stick continually to
one subject and give me little information even on that one. You know
I am a new-comer here and eager to learn all I can. Then there’s the
doctor. I take more pleasure conversing with him than with you, for he
seems to know more, or, at any rate, to be more able to tell me things
I want to know about the earth. If the doctor were not here and you were
the only one to judge from, I should be obliged to think the people of
the earth a very curious race. Your companion, however, appears to be a
man of considerable sense.”

Mona sang all this in her easy, natural way, being perfectly free from
any intention of wounding my feelings, but the more innocent I believed
her the more incapable I saw she was of entering into my feelings.
I began to realize how, in loving everybody, she missed a certain
enjoyment derived from a more selfish order of love. It then occurred
to me that a world full of such people as Mona must have rather a
monotonous time from our point of view, and I asked her if she could
tell me about her race in general respecting the subject of our

“Certainly,” she replied, “I can tell you something from my own
recollections, but more from our traditions.”

“Well, were the men of the moon all sensible, or were they all like me?”

“Oh, I see you have a little sense as soon as you begin to talk in a new
direction. In answer to your question, let me say that the stress you
have put on our personal relations is something entirely new to me,
and I do not see any use or advantage in it. This must be my excuse for
speaking so plainly. I should not have spoken so had I not known, in
spite of what I have said, that you had too much sense to be offended.”

“I thank you,” I said. “Do not apologize for your words. I have taken
them as a needed rebuke for my haste in appropriating you to myself.
But I believe, Mona, that the time will come when you will know the
happiness of loving one person so much that your love for all others
will not be thought of in comparison. Happy will he be who, in that day,
is able to prove the capacity of your great heart.”

“Then, in that day,” she responded, “shall I prove myself to be the
degenerate daughter of a noble race. No, my friend, we were not made of
such stuff. We loved everybody, without question and without limit. We
could do nothing else, and to love one more than another was therefore

“Let me ask if everyone was worthy of being loved?”

“Why, as to that, we were all alike. What do you think of me?”

“You know what I think of you, Mona; or, if you do not, I will tell

“Yes; you needn’t tell me again. What I wanted to say is, that I am no
better than the rest of my people were.”

“What a world it must have been then,” I exclaimed, “and how fortunate
that the earth did not discover it earlier. With such an example before
us we should have been utterly discouraged.”

When Mona had left me at the close of this conversation, I proceeded to
take stock of my sensations. I had certainly been seeing a new phase of
Mona’s character. Could I make such vigorous language consistent with my
former conception of her? I answered yes to this question after studying
it awhile, for I concluded that she was only just in giving me a lesson
that I deserved. Her innocence was only the more evident, and that was
the ground on which I built my faith in her. But now came the inquiry
whether my love could withstand such a shock as it had received. I was
no longer blind to the truth. Mona had no stronger affection for me than
for her other friends, and it began to be doubtful if she ever would
have, considering her peculiar education in affairs of the heart. If I
continued to love her, it must be with the full knowledge that I had not
as yet gained the slightest success in my effort to secure her for my
own exclusive possession. My exuberant passion had received a serious
shock, for I had been plainly told that it was making me appear
ridiculous. Then, when there seemed to be danger that my love must grow
cold under such treatment, I began to argue Mona’s cause to myself, and
I bade myself take comfort once more in the old thoughts. She was young
and careless, besides being entirely new to our manner of wooing, and
I had been too hasty in my approaches and no doubt tired her with my
continuous solicitations. But then, on the other hand, I continued, the
case seemed much more hopeless than before after such a plain rebuff,
and if I had any self-respect I could not continue to pay my court where
my honest love was made a matter of jest.

These thoughts passed rapidly through my mind, and I cannot tell to what
rash resolve they would have led me had not the music of Mona’s laughing
voice just then come floating in from another room. As usual, this was
more than I could resist, and its immediate effect now was to drive
out reason and to enthrone love once more. All my doubt and uncertainty
vanished in a twinkling, my self-respect hid itself in a dark corner
of my memory, and as I instinctively started to find the fair singer I
realized again, with a feeling too strong for argument, that I was still
very much in love.



Our life in this cultured home continued to be as pleasant as were these
first days. There was always something new to show us or to tell us. We
would walk out every day and often step into a carriage and take a
long ride. Our friends were famous walkers but were considerate of
our feebleness, and still our returning strength, added to the great
buoyancy of our bodies on that smaller planet, soon gave us also
remarkable walking powers.

Sometimes the children would accompany us on an all-day excursion, and
then the house would be left not only unlocked, but with the doors wide
open perhaps. When we remarked on this, Zenith told us that if anyone
happened along he would be at perfect liberty to go in and help himself
to anything in the house. This was always understood, whether the people
were at home or not, and one need not even go through the formality
of asking, if he could see what he wanted. This referred not merely
to bodily refreshment, of which one might be in need, but literally to
everything the house contained; and the reason why there was any sort
of comfort living under such conditions was, that the members of that
society were all and severally of such ripe characters that it was well
known one would not deprive another of anything he was using except for
a reason which would be satisfactory to both.

“If we could communicate with the people on the earth,” said the doctor
to me when we sat alone conversing about these things, “and tell them
how the inhabitants here live, they would want to organize an expedition
and start for Mars right away.”

“Yes, I think they would,” I assented. “And yet, if what Thorwald says
is true, the earth will one day be as good as Mars. Do you believe it?”

“Well, the fact is,” answered the doctor, “I am ready to believe almost
anything now.”

“Oh, I wish Thorwald could hear you say that.”

“I should not object,” he continued. “I am sure that some power, not
comprehended by our science or philosophy, has operated here to bring
these people to the condition in which we find them, and if the same
kind forces are at work on the earth, let us hope they will do as much
for us, no matter how much time it takes. If a belief in such a power is
faith, then perhaps I am beginning to have a little faith.

“I remember I used to hear our preachers in their public prayers ask God
that every form of vice and crime might be banished from the earth, and
that the time might come when there should be no more sin, but only love
and beauty and happiness. I have heard such prayers a hundred times,
and never thought much about them. But now I am forced to think, and
it seems to me that these prayers would not be made continually unless
there were a hope and expectation in the minds of religious people that
they would some time be answered. It is not for me to assume that such a
hope is unreasonable, drawn as it is from the book which so many believe
is the word of God.”

I rejoiced to hear my friend talk in this way, but it seemed very odd
that he should be preaching my own doctrine to me. I had had the same
thoughts, and had been trying to find the right time to offer them to
the doctor. I am sure I was thankful that he was coming to such views
without a word from me, for he would probably be much more apt to hold
to them.

The foregoing conversation was in the evening, and the next morning we
were all sitting comfortably in the music room, when Thorwald said:

“The other day I began to give you some orderly account of our history,
but you see how it has been broken into by the relation of different
phases, in answer to your questions. It seems to me now that it will be
more interesting to you if I continue in the same way and take up one
subject at a time. And now that we have a little time before us, I wish
you would suggest some point upon which you would like to have me talk;
that is, if it is agreeable to you.”

To which the doctor replied:

“I like your plan very much and I am sure we both have plenty of
questions which will keep you supplied with topics. I have desired
for some time to ask you about your industrial system. I can see how
electricity has relieved you of the most arduous labor, but there must
remain much disagreeable work, as we would call it, to be done with the
hand. In our busy life there are a thousand such tasks, which I cannot
conceive of being performed by machinery, many of them hard only
because they are monotonous and awake no interest or enthusiasm in the
performer. Men and women are continually wearing themselves out with
such work. You must have abolished all that, if everybody here is
comfortable and happy. I am very anxious to hear how it has been done.”

“In answering your question,” Thorwald began, “let me say, first, that I
presume we have learned to employ machines in a great many ways which to
you would seem incomprehensible. The drudgery and much of the monotony
of labor have been removed, as well as its severity. But still, as you
surmise, there is plenty of work for all. Our higher civilization
does not require less work than yours, but rather more and of greater
variety. It is all done quietly, however, without friction or any of the
unpleasant features of former times.

“I suspect that the real secret of the change is in the elevation of
individual character. This has done more to better our condition than
electricity and all the material improvements and inventions of the
age. You must believe me when I say that no sort of labor is considered
disgraceful, and, further, that one occupation is just as honorable as
another. The man who goes into the mine and superintends the machine
which gathers the precious metal is esteemed as highly as he who,
with an artist’s brain and fingers, shapes it to its highest use. The
carpenter who works with his hands in the building of the house can hold
his head as high as the architect who has spent many years in learning
how to create the design. Why not? Both are engaged on the same work,
each one in his favorite, and so his best, way. Both are working,
not for daily bread or other selfish end, but for the sake of doing
something useful. The perfect content and satisfaction we all enjoy
in our labor come partly from our abundant health and strength, and
largely, also, from our entire freedom from anxiety in regard to the
means of maintenance for ourselves and our families. In these respects
we are all equally fortunate. We are absolutely unconcerned about what
material things we shall have for ourselves or leave to our children.”

“Do you then all have equal pay for your work, and that so much that it
places you above anxiety?” asked the doctor.

“Yes,” answered Thorwald, “we are all paid equally, because we are not
paid at all. So, having no wages and owning no property, why should we
be anxious? You know I have told you we can have for our use anything
that is produced or made without even asking anybody for it. The mere
fact that we need a thing makes it rightfully ours.”

“But what is the incentive to labor if you get nothing for it, and can
live just as well without it?”

“The incentive is in the love for our work and the consciousness that
we are doing something to make someone happier and the world a little
better. Let me give you an illustration, a personal one, if you will
excuse me. A neighbor asks me to make him a plan for a house. He may be
a writer of books or he may be a carriage maker, or what not, it makes
not the slightest difference. I enjoy that kind of work and, having
obtained his ideas in regard to a house, I do the best I can. I cannot
conceive that I could do any better if I knew he would pay me for the
work, as you say. In like manner he asks other neighbors to build his
house for him, and he has no difficulty in finding enough men who enjoy
that occupation as much as I do my part of the work, and the principle
which governs them in their labor is as high as that which controls me.”

“Then,” said the doctor, “I should think the poor man--I beg your
pardon, I mean the hod-carrier--could have as grand a house as the
architect himself.”

“I don’t know what a hod-carrier is,” replied Thorwald, “but I get your
meaning, and you are quite right. As an example of just that state of
things, I will tell you that the man who tends the digging machine in my
garden lives in a larger and handsomer house than this one. Why not?
He has a large family, and he and his wife are educated and refined

“But with no physical wants to provide against, I should think some men
would find existence easier not to work at all. According to your theory
they could live in as good style as the toilers and have no one to call
them to account.”

“No one but themselves. Every man is his own monitor, and he needs no
other. He knows his duty, and he has that within him which keeps him up
to it more effectually than any outside influence could. In regard to a
man’s not caring to work, we have been through all that, and we have now
no such cases. We found out long ago that it is better to have some one
stated employment and follow it. But this does not mean that the work
becomes a burden. One can rest as often and as long as he pleases.
There is no one to intimate in any way that he should be at work, as the
question is left entirely to him. The moment that work ceases to be a
necessity it becomes a pleasure and the most natural thing in the world.
The multiplication of mechanical inventions has greatly reduced the
volume of labor, so that there is really but little for each individual
to do; and the truth is, there is never any lack of men. If anything,
there is not enough work.”

“Your words,” said the doctor, “reveal a remarkable condition of
affairs, and I fear it will be many, many years before we can begin to
think seriously of such a plan, so long as to make it almost hopeless;
but there is one more question I would like to ask. With all this
freedom of choice, how does it happen that all do not flock to the easy
and pleasant occupations, and leave the disagreeable tasks undone?”

To this Thorwald replied:

“Let me ask you, Doctor, if you have not an answer to your question
in your own industrial system. Do you not always find men to do every
required work, no matter how hard and distasteful it may seem to you?
I do not mean that the parallel is exact, but this seems to be governed
now, as it has always been, by a dispensation of nature. We are born
with different tastes and inclinations. Each one chooses his own
occupation, and it comes to pass providentially, just as it did in the
olden time, that all do not choose alike.”

“Are all equally well educated?”

“No, but all have an equal opportunity. Everyone is given a broad
foundation of general information. The mind and hand are both trained
and prepared to do good work, and then the choice of occupation is made
and the special education begins. But one who has chosen some kind
of manual labor as his vocation very often takes up literary or other
professional work in addition, and everybody has some kind of study on
hand, by which the mind is kept employed. There is no uneducated class
among us.”

“Before you reached such nobility of character,” said the doctor, “that
panacea for so many ills, I suppose you had troubles enough. You have
already intimated as much to us. I wonder if it would not help us to
appreciate better your present condition if you should tell us briefly
of your experiences in solving so happily some of the problems of your
career. I am thinking now more especially of the difficulties of your
social and industrial reformation.”

“I will attempt something of the kind,” Thorwald replied, “if you are
sure I shall not weary you. Remember to prompt me if I do not follow the
lines of most interest to you.

“If you should prefer to read you would find the facts you want
fully set forth in our histories. The records are especially full
and exhaustive on the subjects you have mentioned, for the important
changes, or, at least, the changes whose story will be most instructive
to you, came in a time of great intellectual activity. Of the earlier
days the history is unfortunately less complete, and still further back
the records become uncertain and many are merely legendary.

“Let us begin at a time when civilization was confined to a small
portion of the surface of our planet. Society was then crude and
unformed. It was a rude, selfish age. But the germ of better things was
there, for the gospel of Christ had been planted in the world and was
sure to spring into life when its time should come. But meanwhile our
evil nature was strong and choked the good seed, and made advancement
slow and uncertain. Power was divided among many rulers who were
despots, whose principal occupation was war. The people were valued
merely for their fighting qualities and enjoyed only such rights and
privileges as their cruel masters allowed them. Being slaves themselves,
they held in a still more bitter slavery every prisoner captured in war.

“Life was mere animal existence for most of the race, without enjoyment
for the present or hope for the future. Education being denied them,
there was no mental stimulus to compensate for physical wretchedness,
and even their meager religious privileges were accompanied with so many
superstitious and unnatural rites that life was relieved of but a little
of its burden.

“Gradually power was concentrated in the hands of a few autocrats,
nations were consolidated, and war began to be a science. Then some
attention was paid to the comfort of the people for the purpose of
making them better soldiers. Soon it was found that intelligence was the
best weapon a man could carry, and so education, in a very stinted form,
was encouraged. This was a fatal blunder on the part of the rulers, for
as soon as the mind was unfettered the shackles began to fall from the
body, and the days of absolutism were numbered. The spirit of knowledge,
once released from its imprisonment, became a dominant power in the
world, and as time went on the people demanded a voice in the management
of affairs. In this way came constitutional government, which for a
long time held sway, and under which there came immense benefits to all.
Religion and learning flourished, science and art blessed the race with
their bounties, and the world began to be a brighter and better place to
live in, comparing the times with the ages of ignorance and cruelty that
went before.

“And now the stream of liberty broadened, and before long became a flood
that swept away thrones and scepters. Personal government ceased, and
the people became their own political masters. The right of suffrage
was extended and slavery was abolished, while commerce and the spirit of
adventure carried civilization to many parts of the world. Then appeared
a swarm of mechanical inventions to lighten the labor of mankind,
electricity came with its strong arm and great promise, and easier and
swifter transportation by land and sea brought the nations and peoples
together to the mutual advantage of all.

“Education, once the possession of the rich and powerful only, now shed
its benign influence over the whole people. Whereas, in the early
times, learning had caused the downfall of despotic power, it was
now considered a principal safeguard of good government, and made
compulsory. Wealth was accumulated, luxuries multiplied, and great
strides were taken in the material welfare of both nations and
individuals. It was an age of intense activity. So rapidly did events
follow each other, and such possibilities were anticipated, that
enthusiasts, whose heads were turned in the mad whirl, prophesied the
immediate opening of the millennium.

“Judged by all the race had previously known of freedom, of prosperity,
and of happiness, it was a grand age, and that generation might well be
proud of their timely birth. But, looked at from our present standpoint,
we can see it was still a day of sadness and sin. We understand, what
it was more difficult for them to realize, that the revival of pure
religion, awakening the conscience of mankind, had brought about all
that was good in their condition, while many evil tendencies had only
been exaggerated by their material prosperity. So it was still a
very imperfect world. Political freedom they had, but there was no
emancipation from the powerful thraldom of selfishness. That spirit held
universal sway, governing not only individual action but also the policy
of nations.

“One of the highest sentiments known to the times, and some writers
placed it even above religion, was love of country. Impassioned oratory
was fond of declaring that loyalty to one’s native land was the loftiest
emotion the heart could feel, and no voice was found to rebuke the

I was a little shocked to hear Thorwald, in his earnest manner, give
expression to these words, as though he looked upon such views in a very
serious light. I was therefore bold enough to interrupt him with:

“Excuse me, Thorwald, but would not these orators, when their attention
was called to their extreme language, acknowledge that love to God was a
still higher sentiment?”

“Perhaps they would, for with all the selfishness of the period there
was a deep-seated belief in a divine being. But even so, I still would
not allow them to be right.”

“Why,” I asked, “is there more than one motive higher than patriotism?”

“Yes, love is higher,” answered Thorwald. “Let me explain. What did
love of country mean? At first one’s country was a single family, then
a tribe, and later a city, when the measure of one’s patriotism was the
measure also of his hatred for everything foreign. In time a state was
formed from many cities and towns, and its citizens were taught to look
on all other states as enemies. Then these states that had been fighting
each other consolidated into a nation, made up, perhaps, of different
races and languages. By this time patriotism became a lofty theme, but
it was the same spirit essentially as that which prompts the members of
two savage tribes to fight to the death through a blind and unreasoning
devotion to their leaders. So do you not think that love to all, which
can only come from a generous heart, is more to be praised than love
to a part, which necessitates enmity to all the rest? I should think
it would have puzzled the people of that age sometimes to tell of what
their country really consisted. Was their highest allegiance due to
their city, or their county, or their state, or their nation?

“To what did this immoderate love of country lead? To a passion
for aggrandizement at the expense of others, and what was this but
selfishness with a gloss so bright as to make it look like a virtue? It
led to the strangling of conscience in national affairs, so as to make
wrong seem right, and, more than that, to persistence in a course when
it was well known to be wrong. It taught false ideas of honor and made
the world one grand dueling field, where the energy of nations was spent
in watching for insults from their neighbors, and where the quick blow
followed every real or fancied offense.

“Do not imagine, by what I have said, that I would have advised these
people to love their country less. On the contrary, I should tell them
to love it so much that they could not see it do wrong; to love it so
much that they should have no room in their hearts for bitterness toward
others; so much that they should strive to have it lead the world in a
march toward universal brotherhood. Love for one’s neighbor should not
stop at state or national boundaries. Love should know neither caste
nor country, but should take in the world, and, I might add for your
benefit, other worlds if necessary. Love is a condition of the heart,
something within, not without, the man, and when fully developed reaches
out to everything that God has made.”

“It seems to me, Thorwald,” I ventured to say, “that these sentiments,
which I can see are admirable, belong to your present high development,
while we of the earth have reached only about the condition of the
people whose traits you have been describing.”

“Then,” resumed Thorwald, “you can perhaps understand another evil of
those times. It did not grow directly out of love for country, but that
too much lauded sentiment prevented the people from seeing its full
enormity. This was the practice of attempting by law to protect the
inhabitants of one country by shutting out the goods of all others.
This prohibition included both the manufactured articles and natural
products, and the means adopted was the placing of a high duty
on imports. If the political leaders of a people could succeed in
convincing them that such a course would raise wages, increase the
opportunities for accumulating money, and make them in general more
prosperous, then it was forthwith adopted, entirely without regard to
the effect it might have on the rest of the world. It is not at all
plain to be seen, from reading the history of those times, that the
happiest results always followed the passage of these laws, but the
experiment was tried whenever a majority felt that there was a fair
expectation of such benefits. The only question considered was whether
it would be good policy for their particular country. And if one result
of this selfish legislation was the closing of mills and the loss of
employment to thousands of workmen in some other part of the world,
these facts were paraded in the public prints as though they were
matter for rejoicing. Men were yet to learn that the maxim which the
politicians were fond of quoting, ‘the greatest good to the greatest
number,’ should have a world-wide application to give it any meaning at

While my prejudices were receiving another shock, I knew the doctor was
really enjoying this part of Thorwald’s talk. So, in order to draw him
out, I said to him, as Thorwald paused:

“Doctor, I think our friend must belong to your party.”

“I should rather belong to his party,” replied the doctor.

“Thank you,” said Thorwald. “That is a compliment which I appreciate;
and now I think I have talked long enough for one sitting. Let us get
some lunch, and then go out for a good walk.”

Thorwald must have seen that the doctor’s mood was softening, but he
probably thought it wise not to speak more directly to him at present.



As it was a holiday, the children accompanied us on our walk, and we
had further opportunity of observing the easy, natural relations
which existed between them and their parents. There was neither undue
familiarity nor too much restraint. There was respect as well as
affection on both sides, and a scrupulous concern for each other’s
feelings. Evidently the children had all the rights they could
appropriate to their advantage, while there was no abrogation of the
privileges or the duties of the parents.

At a convenient time during the afternoon I spoke to Zenith about this
happy condition of family affairs, and I was greatly enlightened and not
a little amused by her reply.

“It was not always so,” she said. “One of the sad chapters of our
history tells us of an unfortunate episode in the family life. In the
early days the father had complete control over his household, even the
lives of its members being at his disposal. But as civilization advanced
the law stepped in and protected the dependent ones from too harsh
punishment and from neglect. In time sympathy for the weak and
unprotected made all corporal punishment unpopular, both at home and
at school, and soon discipline of every kind was much weakened. There
appeared to be a growing impression on the part of the elders that there
could not be any evil in the child’s nature, and so if he were allowed
to grow up without any particular training he would not go far out of
the way. It seemed to be overlooked that this was something new in the
history of the race, that the experiment had never been tried of giving
the youth their own way, from the cradle up. It had been taught from
very early times that the child, for its own future welfare, should
receive correction, and the teaching had never before been departed
from. The parents might just as well have put the reins of family
government in the hands of the children at once, for this is what it
came to in the end. The children, released from all restraint, lost
first their respect for their elders, and then all regard for their
feelings. Instead of love there grew up a careless indifference, and in
place of that tender thoughtfulness so necessary to happiness in this
relation, parents began to receive harsh and even cruel treatment. As
we look back upon it now, it seems strange that the result was not
anticipated, and the trend of events changed by a decided stand against
such an unnatural course. But the approach to a crisis was insidious
and, as I have said, history furnished no parallel from which to draw a

“Two things made it the worst time in the world for parents to become
lax in their discipline. One was the growing sentiment in favor of
independence which was permeating all classes of society, and the other
the great revival of learning among the people. Given a large class
of persons highly educated and taught to prize personal liberty above
everything else, and still without the discretion that comes only with
years, and what could be expected of them when left with no strong hand
to guide them? The methods of education improved so rapidly, and there
were such constantly increasing opportunities for obtaining knowledge,
that there was some excuse for the children in getting the idea that
they knew more than their fathers and mothers. This belief would not
under any circumstances improve their manners, and at this time it only
caused them to despise still more those who seemed willing to withdraw
all claim to authority over them. Precocity, which had never been
a popular trait, came to the front with no modesty to relieve its
disagreeable character.

“But the conduct of the youth of both sexes was not confined to the
exhibition of bad manners, nor to the mere passive indulgence of an
undutiful spirit. These led gradually to a more serious phase of the
rebellion, the inauguration of a series of petty annoyances, to be
followed, naturally, by acts of downright injustice and cruelty. It
seemed as if the old years of oppression to which, in a ruder age, the
children had been subjected, were about to be repeated, with the parents
for the victims. You must not suppose that these vast changes came about
in the course of one generation. Just as a sentiment in favor of liberty
will be perpetuated in a people from one generation to another, and
increase with the lapse of years, so this feeling of independence
of parental control and this decadence of natural affection were
transmitted from one set of children to the next, and matters grew from
bad to worse.

“At length the behavior of the young people became so notoriously bad
that the matter had to be taken out of the heretofore sacred precincts
of home and treated in a public manner. The press tried to work a
reformation by ridicule and threats, and when this was seen to have no
effect the legislatures took up the subject, and actually passed laws
‘for the relief and protection of oppressed parents,’ and ‘for the
reestablishment of rightful authority in the home.’ These bold measures
so angered the children that they declared they would not submit to such
insults, but would take the matter of making laws, as well as all other
branches of public business, into their own hands. They started their
own organs, which made such silly declarations as this: ‘We are young,
but in all other respects we are superior to our elders. We have more
intelligence, more spirit and courage, we outnumber them two to one,
and, what is better than all the rest, we hold them already in our
power. So why should we not use that power, and go forward and destroy
every vestige of their authority? Let them work and earn our support,
and we will do the rest.’”

“And now,” asked Zenith, “how do you think the affair came out?”

“I confess,” I answered, “that I shall have to give it up.”

“Well,” she continued, “the problem was solved, as so many others in our
career have been, when the needed lesson had been learned, without our
being subjected to the extremely dire results which seemed so imminent;
and I am happy to be able to tell you that relief came through the
efforts of one of my own sex. Just before the last ounce was added
to the weight of foolishness and error which was to turn the world
completely over, a girl made her appearance with sense enough to call a
halt. She happened to be editing one of the fiery journals of her class,
when it struck her one day that they were carrying the thing too far.
She had the courage to say so, and got roundly abused for it. She
persisted, obtained adherents and helpers, and soon a decided reaction
set in. Like a house of cards, which a breath will destroy, the unstable
structure the children had built fell to the ground, never to be

“The lesson was not forgotten, and the experience, which appears
laughable now, has been of great benefit to us at different times since.
But the broadening of our minds and the general improvement in our
character have long ago placed us beyond the danger of a recurrence of
such events. Compared to our present state those were the days of our

As Zenith closed I told her I had enjoyed her story, and that I hoped
the earth would not require such a lesson.

“I trust not,” said Zenith.



The next day the doctor and I took the first opportunity to tell
Thorwald that we were anxious to have him proceed with his narrative.

“Yes,” he said, “I shall be glad to do so, for I had not reached the
important part when our sitting broke up yesterday.

“I was describing to you a remarkable era in our career, and one of you
mentioned the fact that the present condition of your race corresponded
in some particulars with that age on Mars. If you shall discover further
points of likeness as I continue, it will add a peculiar interest to my

“There is a difference of opinion among our historians in regard to
those times. Some believe that the whole world was corrupt, that it was
an age of material development only, and that, if there were any good
impulses at all, they were so smothered with selfishness as to be of no
account. But these writers lived long ago, and were themselves more or
less under the shadow of that epoch. I strongly hold to the views of the
great majority of our scholars, who tell us that, while there was too
much evil of all kinds, there was also much good, and many believers in
a final happy issue out of all the troubles of the time.

“In a society so entirely given up to the pursuit of wealth and worldly
advantage of every sort, those who were trying to hold up the standard
of righteousness and to alleviate the lot of their fellow beings should
be remembered with gratitude. Among the multitude of inventions were
many that were calculated to relieve the laborer of his severest tasks,
to mitigate suffering, to ward off disease, and to lighten the load of
mankind in various ways. Large sums of money were given for hospitals,
charitable institutions, and colleges, and for other kinds of
philanthropic work, while private benevolences were not uncommon. There
was prosperity, too, of a certain kind, and some people were happy, or
thought themselves so. In the records of that as of every period of our
history, it is possible to find rays of light if we search for them, and
I tell you these things in order that you may get a fair understanding
of the situation, for in what follows you will see something of the
other side.

 “I think I shall not err if I say that the gigantic evil of the times,
that from which others sprang, was the inordinate love of money. Even
political power, by which the opportunity was obtained of doing public
service, was too often sought merely for the better chance one had of
making money, as the saying was. In the revolt against aristocratic
government, the tendency in our race of going from one extreme to the
other was again shown, and universal suffrage was adopted. This would
have been wise if intelligence and honesty had also been universal. But
the result proved it to be an exceedingly bad policy, for it created
a large class of voters who held the high privilege of citizenship so
meanly, and were themselves so venal, that they would even sell their
votes to the highest bidder. This, supplemented by the immorality of
some of the intelligent citizens, made politics corrupt and the name of
politician too often a by-word.

“In doing business, by which was meant buying and selling and
manufacturing, also financial dealings and commerce, the passion
for money-getting was particularly prominent. An astonishingly small
percentage of those that went into business, as they said, made a
success, if we except the large manufacturers, but in spite of that
it was a popular way of earning a livelihood. One thing that made it
popular was the fact that there was always more or less speculation
in it. The haste to get rich made men too careless of the rights of

“Do you mean that all business was conducted dishonestly?” I asked.

“No,” answered Thorwald, “not as men looked at it then. There was a
great deal of downright knavery in business, but there was another class
who satisfied their consciences by being as honest as they could. The
thoughtful ones knew the system was wrong but felt themselves utterly
unable to replace it by a better one, and feeling no responsibility for
it, they were satisfied to smother their sensibilities and drift along.
They had their living to make, and, though they were not making it in an
ideal way, they did not know that any other kind of work would be more
satisfactory to their uneasy consciences.”

“Excuse me, Thorwald,” I said; “I am dull. What was there wrong in their
manner of doing business?”

“Can you see nothing wrong,” he answered, “in a system where one man’s
fortune was built on the ruins of another’s, or perhaps a score of
others, or where a business was started and increased solely by drawing
from another one already established?”

“Why,” said I, “that is competition, which they no doubt thought better
than monopoly. I can imagine that they argued that a man’s first duty
was to himself and his family, that one had a right to go into any
legitimate business, and that others must take care of themselves. The
evil, if there was any, they probably felt was incident to the nature of
business and could not be helped. I would like to ask how society could
exist with any other business rules.”

As I closed it struck me that I had spoken pretty fast and without much
discretion, and the impression was not removed as Thorwald answered with

“I am telling you the state of things on this planet thousands of years
ago, and it is a sufficient answer to your question to say that society
at the present day is not governed on any such principles; still, we
seem to exist. It was a favorite saying in those days that ‘a man must
live,’ and one that was used as an argument or excuse for questionable
practices. The premise was wrong; it was not necessary to live: death
would have been far better for the world and for the individual than
a dishonorable life. So with society at large; better a change in the
social structure, caused by an awakened conscience, than a state of
peace founded on wrong principles. Our history proves that no particular
plan of society is necessary to the world and that no order based
on selfishness or injustice can long endure. But do not imagine such
changes were easy or swift in accomplishment. They came, not by
violence nor by the device of crafty men, but only through the universal
betterment of the race, whereby a state of things that had been
considered good enough, and then endured as the best attainable, became
at last positively wrong and was slowly pushed aside by a growing sense
of right.

“To return to your first question, as to what there was wrong in their
way of doing business, I want to say with emphasis that the essence of
the wrong was in an undue regard for self and an almost total disregard
for the interests of others. There were exceptions to the rule, notably
in the direction of charity and philanthropy and in religious work, but
I am speaking of the mass of the business community. It was every man
singly against all the rest of the world. No man was his brother’s
keeper. If one did not look out for himself, that was the end of it;
there was no one else to do it.”

“But the system itself made men selfish,” I ventured to say.

“To be sure it did,” he replied. “But why did they not then abolish the
system before it had brought upon them its long train of evils? It had
to go at last.”

“But,” I asked again, “was not competition a good thing for the large
number of people not directly engaged in business? Did it not keep down
the prices on all kinds of commodities?”

“Certainly not in the main. It increased prices, because it increased
the cost of everything. But let us suppose a case where it had the
effect you suggest. Could a man with a heart wear a coat, for example,
with any pleasure, if he knew that rivalry between the manufacturers had
forced the people who made the garment to accept starvation wages? And
this was done, not from humanitarian motives, to furnish the poor with
cheap clothing, but for the purpose of getting more business and so of
making more money.”

I could hardly resist the temptation at this point of asking Thorwald
if he had not been reading up on the current history of the earth, but I
knew well enough that was not possible, for we had brought no books with
us. And then I did not care to tell Thorwald just yet how near he
was coming to our experience. But I could not endure having the props
knocked from under our social structure without another effort to save
it. So I said:

“But were not the great majority of business men honest, and were not
these instances that you have cited extreme cases?”

“They were the natural results of a bad system. A great many men were
as honest as their environment would permit, and they tried to convince
themselves that they were not responsible for the environment.”

“Were they?” I asked eagerly.

“When they at last discovered that they were, then began a radical
change. I am not exaggerating the evils of the times. I am merely
setting them forth to show you how our race has improved with its
maturity. If my purpose required it, I could detail many good things in
the life of that people. One bright point in their character, to which I
just now referred, I will illustrate. My boy, who is also my student
in drawing, will never be able to make a straight line until he can
see that the line he has already made is not straight. His improvement
depends upon more than a steady hand. So with this people. Deep down in
their being, planted by a divine hand, were the instinct of truth
and the principle of growth, and when, in the natural course of their
development, they came to realize how unworthy they were of their better
nature, they set about the work of improvement.

“But they came to that knowledge through many sad experiences. I have
not begun to tell you the number and extent of the evils they endured.

“The desire for money affected all classes. The general prosperity had
bettered the condition of the wage-earners, creating many artificial
wants which could not be satisfied without good pay. Hence arose a
natural and constant effort to obtain higher wages, while competition
among the employers operated just as constantly to keep them down, and
the result was a sharp and increasing antagonism between capital and
labor. The general public shared in the blame for this state of things
by reason of the almost universal demand for cheap goods.

“While the introduction of machinery was a real advance, whose benefits
we are reaping to this day, other conditions had not become adjusted
to it at the time of which we are speaking, so that there was often a
surplus of workmen, especially in the lower grades of labor. This had
a tendency to reduce wages, of course; and the want of employment,
improvidence in the use of small wages, intemperance and other
immoralities, ignorance and misfortune, all combined to keep part of the
people in poverty. On the other hand, it was a time of great wealth and
luxurious living, and these two classes, so far apart in their manner of
life but often so near each other in all their selfish aims, seemed to
have a strong mutual attraction, for they were always found together,
crowding upon each other in every large city.

“One of the most difficult things for us of the present day to imagine
is, how persons of refinement and sensibility, living in comfort and
without a care, could take any pleasure in life when they knew that
within a stone’s throw of their doors were human beings who, very often
through no fault of their own, were so destitute that a crust would
relieve their want, or so friendless that a kind word would make them
shed tears of joy. Oh! I cannot comprehend it, and yet the record tells
us there were cases of just that nature, where such people, without
lifting a finger to alleviate the distress, actually laughed and were
happy. Happy! What could they know of happiness? The word must have
changed its meaning wonderfully, if we think of what it signifies



Thorwald continued as follows:

“The unpleasant relations existing between the employers and the
employees created a host of troubles. It was an unreasonable feeling,
because the interests of the two classes were identical. But as capital
was consolidated and great corporations were formed for extensive
operations in transportation and manufacturing, the relation between the
two became very impersonal and difficult to control. In order to protect
their interests the wage-earners organized into unions, brotherhoods,
etc., almost every trade and calling having its own organization.

“When these associations were first formed much stress was laid upon
their incidental benefits, such as assistance in time of sickness,
care of the families of deceased members, the holding of meetings
for discussion and mutual improvement, and the establishment of
reading-rooms and libraries. These commendable objects would have been
a sufficient excuse for the existence of these bodies, and other
legitimate ends might have been sought, but the labor unions did not
stop there. They instituted and set in motion the powerful machinery
of the strike, as it was called, making it effective by binding their
members, under severe penalties, to stop work when they were ordered
to do so by their leaders. They also practiced the severest measures
of intimidation upon non-union men, to prevent them from getting

“Thus the trades-unions, too often governed by incompetent men, became
a mighty power for evil. Strikes and lockouts were common, and were
followed by loss of wages and consequent suffering, while the bitterness
of feeling between the two classes constantly increased. To meet the
rising power of the labor organizations, the employers felt obliged to
form combinations among themselves and sometimes also to employ bodies
of armed men to protect their property. Then, when a strike came,
conflicts would follow so serious that appeal had to be made to the last
resort, the military arm of the nation. Here another evil threatened,
for the individual soldiers would sometimes prove to be in deep sympathy
with the workmen who were making the trouble. At such crises, also,
there would appear on the scene the anarchist, who wanted to overthrow
society at once in the hope of bringing himself out nearer the top, and
who was kept comparatively harmless in quiet times.

“You can imagine something of the disorder and apprehension caused
by these troubles. No contract for work could be made without the
stipulation that its fulfillment must depend upon freedom from strikes
in that particular trade, and no man could start on a journey with any
certainty that he would be allowed to finish it in peace and at the
appointed time.

“To decide how these evils should be remedied proved to be one of the
greatest problems ever presented to the people of that age.

“Political sages had long before promulgated the doctrine upon which
society was governed, that every man had a natural right to life,
liberty, and his own method of pursuing happiness. Now, both sides
in the conflict claimed to be following closely the spirit of this
fundamental doctrine. The workingmen declared that they had a perfect
right to organize and to induce all their number to join the unions.
They said the individual relation between them and the employers had had
its day and that experience was proving to them that every concession
and privilege they hoped to get must come through their associations,
working through the medium of an agent or committee. As independent
citizens they could not obey laws and regulations in the making of which
they had no voice, and their love of personal liberty would not allow
them to accept the wages and hours of service which their employers
might, without asking their consent, choose to prescribe. In case of
disagreement they asserted their right to stop the whole business, at
whatever loss to the employers or inconvenience to the public, and to
prevent, if possible, new men from taking their places.

“On the other hand, the employers, while not denying to the workmen the
right to form associations for legitimate purposes, insisted that this
right was being abused. They claimed that they should be allowed to hire
whom they pleased and dismiss incompetent men when it was best for their
business, without regard to their membership or non-membership in a

“As time went on the trouble increased and society was fast forming
itself into classes with opposing aims and mutual dislike. The time
had been when a workman, by skill and diligence, could rise above his
station and become a large proprietor himself. But with the new order
this was hardly possible, and civilization, in this respect, seemed to
be retrogressing.

“You may wonder why the lawmakers did not correct the evil at once, but
the fact was that the legislatures were made up of representatives from
the two classes, and so were undecided as to what remedies to apply.
It was proposed by some to enact a law preventing a man from selling
himself into slavery, or, in other words, from giving up his liberty
of action into the keeping of others, a thing which had caused much
suffering. In every strike a large part of the men, earning small wages
and with families dependent on these wages for their bread from one day
to another, would be obliged to quit work against their will. It was
thought, therefore, a fit subject of legislation to enjoin them from
binding themselves to strike at the dictation of others, when it was
against their judgment. It was suggested, also, to make the intimidation
or coercion of non-union men a criminal act.

“When these measures were suggested the cry was raised that the
workingmen were to be deprived of their liberty and made the slaves of
capital. The labor parties in the legislatures were assisted by a
class of politicians who were made cowards through fear of losing the
workingmen’s votes, and this gave these parties the power to defeat
all measures of which they disapproved, and to pass laws in their own
interest. They claimed that they should be protected as well as the
manufacturer, and so they made it lawful for the government to inspect
all industries and to see that the employees received an equitable share
of the profits. This was radical action, but they went still further,
and took away from every employer the right of discharging men for any
cause without the consent of the union; and full power to fix the
hours of service and the wages was put into the hands of the government
inspectors and the representatives of the trades-unions. The wages
were to be based on what the inspectors found to be the profits of the
business, and the help or advice of the proprietors was not to be taken.
As these astonishing rules governed even the farmer and shopkeeper
as well as the manufacturer, you can imagine that there was not much
satisfaction in trying to carry on any business.

“The laboring classes were beginning to discover that they were a large
majority of the community and that there was a mighty power in the
ballot. Their opponents, on the other hand, having lost the control in
politics through universal suffrage, now bent their energies still more
to the work of combining large interests under one management, hoping to
wield in this way a power too formidable to be withstood. Immense
trusts were formed in almost every branch of business, and the syndicate
gradually took the place of the firm and individual corporation.

“A long time previous to the period of which we are speaking, the people
had put part of their business into the hands of the government, with
the idea that it would be done with more promptness and also with more
economy. A good example of this was seen in the excellent mail service,
which the national government conducted much more satisfactorily than it
could have been done by private enterprise.

“The local governments, also, had full control of the highways and
bridges and the common schools, hospitals, etc., while in large
communities, at great expense, they stored and distributed water for
domestic and other purposes. As the people had received undoubted
benefits from this state of things, there were few to object to it, and
even their objection was more for theoretical than practical reasons. It
is not strange, therefore, that as the troublous times approached
these functions of the state should be multiplied. Besides the gain in
convenience and in cost that thus came to the people, they began to
rely on the strong arm of the government for protection from the
uncertainties and interruptions incident to private control of many
kinds of business.

“As the telegraph and telephone came into more general use the
government found it necessary to add their facilities to the mail
service, in order to give the people the best means of communication.
From this point the step was soon taken of assuming control of all
the telegraph and telephone lines, in the interest of lower prices and
better service. This was attended with such good results that it
was thought wise to extend the conveniences of the mail in another
direction; and instead of carrying a few small parcels the government
took into its hands the entire express business, and it was not long
before everybody conceded it to be a good move.

“At the same time, the municipal governments began to exhibit the same
paternal character. They first took control of the lighting and heating
facilities, and this led in a short time to their furnishing the people
with fuel, which was generally brought from a distance, and which, in
private hands, always had a way of going up in price at just the time
when the poor people were obliged to buy it. For the sake of economy,
also, the cities took possession of all street cars, cabs, and

“Affairs had reached this condition when the labor troubles became so
serious, and this absorption of private business by the government was
so recent and was in general so satisfactory, that men could but think
of it in connection with their efforts to solve the industrial problems.
The time had now come when some radical measures must be adopted to
preserve and extend civilization. The labor party were abusing their
power still more in making bad laws, and strikes became more frequent,
and were followed by rioting and bloodshed. At length the interruptions
to business occasioned by the irregularities in traveling became
unbearable. The public demanded better service, but the railroad
companies were powerless to render it, being in the hands of the
employees, who at the slightest grievance would stop every wheel till
the dispute was settled. The trouble generally started with one road and
spread to the others by sympathy, and the result was just as disastrous
to business whether the men gained their end or not.

“There had always been a party, although at times pretty feeble, in
favor of government control of the entire transportation business. This
party now argued that that was the only thing that would cure these
evils, and they gained thereby many new adherents. When it was
considered that government ownership of the telegraph was working well
in spite of many adverse prophecies, the people began to entertain
the idea that it would perhaps be best to try the experiment with
the railroads, especially as it gave some promise of relief from the
strikes. To be sure, it would add to the government service immense
numbers of men, and increase a danger that had always been threatening,
that of making too large a list of civil officers to be managed without
great corruption.

“But now it was not long before a large majority of the people asked to
have the trial made, and soon all railroads, canals, and steamboats were
in the hands of the general government. The employees were formed into
an army, with officers of all grades, and put under strict military
discipline. At the least show of insubordination a man was discharged,
never to be reemployed, and although this caused some hardship in
individual cases at first, it put an effectual stop to the strikes
and kept business moving. The best of the workmen had been among the
strongest advocates of national ownership, and as the movement gained
in favor no class were so satisfied with the change as the employees
themselves. Work was steady, wages were regular, faithfulness and
length of service were rewarded, and the aged and feeble were retired on

“In this way peace had come in one department of labor, but war still
raged among the manufacturers and in the building and other trades. The
workingmen literally held the reins in society, but did not know enough
to drive away from the rocks. Instead of taking advantage of shorter
hours and higher wages to improve their minds and prepare themselves
for a better condition, they were too apt to waste their energies
in denouncing the capitalists and in trying to force still greater
concessions from their unwilling employers. They would loudly demand
that every ancient wrong endured by them should be redressed, and then,
to show their idea of right, they would compel a builder, in the middle
of a contract, where time was more precious than money, to give
them higher wages than had been agreed on; or they would boycott to
bankruptcy a small shopkeeper who innocently bought goods that happened
to be made by non-union workmen.

“But do not imagine that the wrong was all on one side. There
were employers who were unjust and cruel when they had the power,
unreasonable in argument, and boorish and exasperating in their manners.
Many seemed to think they were a different class of beings because they
had more money than their workmen, and they resented the idea of the
latter rising above the station in which they were born. They raised
wages only when forced to do so, and considered any amount of profit
made out of their men perfectly legitimate. When want came they would
give in charity to the unfortunate ones that which really belonged to
them by right. These disagreeable qualities were not possessed alone by
such as were employers. There was a class of rich people not engaged in
business, and although they had the greatest interest in the perpetuity
of society as it was, many of them considered themselves as members of
a superior caste, and looked down with disdain upon the majority of
mankind, and the real masters of the situation, who had to work for
their daily bread.

“It was against this class especially that anarchy was forging its
thunderbolt. The freedom of the press and freedom of speech gave the
socialist and anarchist the opportunity to promulgate their seditious
doctrines, and they looked to the ignorant and depraved portions of the
community for adherents. By the successful risings of the people against
despotic power the word ‘revolution’ had gained a certain nobility of
sound and meaning, and now these incendiaries employed it to mislead the
credulous. They promised an overturning by which all property and money
should become a common fund and be redistributed on a more equitable
basis, and it is perhaps not to be wondered at that some poor, ignorant
ones, seeing the vast inequalities in life, should be carried away with
their arguments. The vision of a society where all should share alike
and live on the same scale of comfort was intoxicating. But the scheme
of the anarchist was not based on love and a desire to promote true
brotherhood. Judging from the violent means proposed to bring about
the change, it seemed rather to be based on hate. In preaching their
doctrine of personal license they were stealing the livery of freedom in
which to serve their selfish lusts.

“While the vicious and ignorant thus threatened society on the one hand,
the accumulation of enormous wealth by a few fortunate, or unfortunate,
men was thought by some to be a menace equally serious. It was argued
that this could not go on without making the poor poorer and more
numerous, and thus emphasizing and perpetuating the separation of the
two classes.

“I need not point out to you a fact that you must realize, namely, that
the spring of action with too many men, the one cause of the troubles
that really threatened the foundations of society, was selfishness.
Can you imagine any danger from all these movements if men could have
suddenly become unselfish, really unselfish?

“I hope I have not given you the idea that all the world of people had
lost their heads. As in the history of nations of that period war seems
to have been the principal occupation, so in the social life of the
people the evils and dangers are most prominently seen. But all this
time there was a large party of men and women who were alive to the
perils of the hour, and intent on seeking the best means to overcome
them. This party was made up of many representatives of every class,
rich and poor, workingmen and employers, and included the great mass of
the intelligent and thoughtful members of society.

“The general and local governments were carrying on, with marked success
and without friction, certain kinds of business, while in many other
departments there were disorder and possible ruin. Time brought no
healing power; the troubles increased and were now truly gigantic. Where
should help be found?”

As Thorwald paused here, the doctor, who, I thought, had been wanting to
speak for some time, took occasion to say:

“Don’t tell us, Thorwald, that this people turned over all their
business, both industrial and professional, to the government, and made
machines of themselves. I am becoming exceedingly interested in them and
hope they found some better release from their woes. I am sure there are
a number of methods of relief which they might have tried.”

“I am glad you have spoken, Doctor,” answered Thorwald, “or I might have
talked you to death. We must really break off now and get out of doors.”

Mona listened to different portions of the foregoing conversation.
It was dull amusement for her, as we could see by her actions, and we
wondered at first why she showed so little interest in it. She did not
seem to realize the full significance of her unique position in our
circle. As the last representative of the race of moon men, she had
now the opportunity of learning something of the history of two sister
worlds, and one would suppose that she would have been eager to hear
every word we said. She had expressed herself more than once as anxious
to know all any of us could tell her, nor did she hesitate to ask
questions continually--and intelligent questions, too. But she was
sympathetic only in certain directions, having a laudable curiosity to
hear about any of the pleasant phases of society, either on the earth or
on Mars. But when Thorwald talked of the former troubles experienced by
his race, or when we compared these with the miseries of our own times
on the earth, Mona became an indifferent listener.

She was sitting with us when Thorwald proposed the out-door exercise,
and so we all went out together. As we walked, Thorwald said:

“Mona, I fear you have not been enjoying my tedious talk this morning.
You would be better pleased, I am sure, with some other topic.”

In her sweet accents, so charming to every ear, Mona responded:

“I hope my lack of attention did not give you offense, Thorwald, but I
do not understand the things you have talked about to-day.”

“Not understand? Why, I know from former conversations with you that
such things are not beyond your comprehension.”

“Thank you,” said Mona, “but I think they are, for I never before heard
anything like the ideas you have advanced.”

“We shall all be glad to learn, then, how these questions were answered
and these wrongs righted by your ancestors.”

“They never had any such perplexities,” responded Mona.

“Which means, I presume,” said Thorwald, “that the race became so far
advanced before your time that the records and traditions of their early
struggles were all forgotten.”

“Oh, no,” she sang out, “that’s not it. What had they to struggle over?”

“Was it then so easy for them to be just?” asked Thorwald.

“Certainly, and I have been exceedingly surprised to learn by your long
talk that there is such a thing as injustice.”

We were all becoming thoroughly interested, but left it for Thorwald to
continue his questions.

“Mona,” said he, “do you mean that your people, even in the remote past,
were entirely ignorant of such troubles as we have been speaking about?”

“Yes, and of all other troubles. I am sure there was always only peace
and happiness on the moon. Strife and hatred, sorrow, want, and misery
are all strange words to me, and entirely unknown except as I have heard
them in your conversation.”

“Was there never any sickness there?” I asked.

“I don’t know the meaning of the word,” she replied. “Is it another item
in the general unpleasantness of the times you have been describing? I
wonder that your race, Thorwald, ever survived those rude days.”

“But,” asked Thorwald, “what think you of the earth? The doctor and his
companion say their planet is now passing through just such a period.”

“Well, all I can say is that I am thankful I was not discovered till
after the moon had deserted the earth.”

“Tell us more about your race,” said the doctor. “Were they all as good
as you are?”

“Just the same. There were no degrees in goodness.”

“And did they all sing as they talked, and in such sweet tones as
yours?” I asked.

“Oh, many sang better than I do, and all made music of their words. I
never heard speech that was not melodious till you and the doctor came
to see me.”

“And did everything else in your life there correspond to your charming
manner of talking?” asked Thorwald.

“Why, yes, I think so,” answered Mona. “It was a delightful world.
Everything was bright and joyous, with no shadow of discontent nor
anything to cause sadness or discomfort. Do you wonder that I could not
sympathize with your story of wrongs and sorrows, the very nature of
which was a new revelation to me?”

Mona’s notions about the people whom she represented seemed strange and
improbable to us, and we attributed them to the influence of her own
guileless nature. One so innocent and whole-hearted as she was would
naturally clothe her ancestors with at least the virtues and graces she
herself possessed. However, we had no means of proving Mona’s ideas to
be false. We had brought away from the moon no records of any kind by
which to study its history, and of that history Mona was as yet our
only interpreter. But every word she spoke on this subject only added
intensity to the pleasurable anticipation with which these Martians
looked forward to their study of the moon and its former inhabitants.



It was not till the next day that we sat down together again to continue
the conversation. Remembering what the doctor had said, Thorwald began:

“In sketching for you the history of that age of activity and change in
our career, I was in such fear of wearying you with dry details that I
hurried along and omitted the very things to which you refer, Doctor.
This people did try all the experiments that suggested themselves,
and if you think your patience will endure it I will speak of a few of

We both assured him that we would gladly listen, and that we considered
ourselves fortunate in having such an instructor. He was merely telling
us about a certain period in the history of Mars, but if he had known
how nearly he had been coming to the course of events on the earth he
would not have wondered that we were so eager to hear all he had to say.

“Quite early in the labor difficulties,” he resumed, “state arbitration
had its day; a short one, however, for the appointment of the
arbitrators soon became a matter of partisan politics, and their
influence was gone. Whichever side was in power could appoint a board
that would be prejudiced in favor of that side from the start, and when
the trouble came the other party would not have confidence enough in
their judgment to accept their decision.

“Next, laws were passed making arbitration compulsory, but allowing the
arbitrators to be chosen at the time of the strike, the employer to name
one, the workmen one, and these two to find the third. This did some
good as long as only first class men were selected, but a few flagrant
cases occurred where the arbitrators, who were allowed to inspect the
books of the concern, made public the private affairs of the business,
to the great injury of the owners. This brought the law into disfavor,
and, as there was no provision for enforcing the decisions, it came to
pass that they were often disregarded, and so, before long, this plan of
settling disputes was also abandoned.

“For a good many years no other subject so completely filled the public
mind as this very troublesome one, and people of all professions were
continually suggesting remedies. It was held by many to be a good
working theory that the employees in every business, whether industrial,
mercantile, or financial, were entitled to some share in the profits
over and above their compensation in wages. This was disputed by the
large majority of the employers, who claimed that their contract with
the workmen was a simple one, by which they agreed to work so many hours
for so much pay, and as this was their due even if the business proved
a losing one, so they had no just claim to anything more if it were
successful the employees had nothing to do or say about the question
of profits. On the other hand, where a number of men had, by long and
faithful service, a strict regard for the welfare of the business, and
loyalty to all of the employer’s interests, helped to build up a great
industry, an increasing number of people, not only the wage earners but
many others not directly interested, felt that the workmen had
fairly gained, if not a share in the proprietorship, at least some
consideration from the owners. This feeling was especially strong in
cases where the laws of the land had materially aided the success of the
business, and where the profits were unusually large.

“I want to say, in passing, that it is by such indications as the
existence of this sentiment that we can see, all through those troublous
times, the gradual improvement of the race.

“As some of the employers came to be impressed with the same thought,
they began in a quiet way trying the experiment of giving their men a
bonus at the end of the year, proportioned to the amount of wages they
earned. In some cases this gave place after a time to the plan of making
the workmen regular partners, and giving them a certain percentage of
the profits in lieu of wages. But when a time of general depression came
and the percentage did not amount to as much as their old pay had been,
the men felt as though they had been led into a trap, and after they had
endured the situation for a time they were glad to return to the former

“Another scheme that was extensively tried was cooperation among the
workingmen, both in manufacturing and mercantile business. The argument,
which was a plausible one, was that the expense of big salaries for
management, together with the enormous profits, would all be available
for dividends. The results showed that in the long run the profits, in
all but exceptional cases, were not more than a fair interest on the
investment, and as to the salaries, it was found that financial and
business ability was scarce and costly, and yet necessary to success.
The associations of workingmen were willing to put their money into
buildings, machinery, and stock, and the men were ready to work hard
themselves, but they were not willing to pay for skill in management,
and so their failure was inevitable. At the same time they still held
to the opinion, which was at the bottom of these experiments, that under
the old system the owners and managers of the business got too much
of the profits and the operatives too little. Is there anything else,
Doctor, that you think these people might have tried?”

“I am not satisfied,” the doctor answered, “with their efforts
at profit-sharing. It seems to me that that scheme, under proper
management, ought to have brought the two classes together by giving
them a common interest in every enterprise, and so to have gradually
done away with all bitterness and strife. Employers might have used a
part of their surplus profits in building better houses for their men,
in giving them instruction as to a nobler way of living, in opening
libraries and bath-houses and cooking schools and savings banks, in
keeping them insured against sickness and death, and in doing a thousand
things to show the men that they were thoughtful of their comfort and
welfare. If the workmen could discover by such means that the employers
were really their friends, I think it must have disarmed their hatred
and antagonism. Then if, with these benefits, they could have received
in money a small percentage above their usual wages, they would
certainly have repaid such friendliness by a service so faithful and an
industry so constant as to more than make up, in increased profits, for
all the philanthropic expenditures.”

“Doctor,” said Thorwald, “I am pleased to see you take such an interest
in this subject. You talk as though you had thought of it before, and
you have outlined almost the exact course pursued by the people of whom
we are speaking. Hundreds of such experiments were tried and persisted
in for a long time, both before the serious labor troubles began
and after. Among their strongest advocates were men of theory in the
professions, who were actuated by high motives but did not appreciate
the practical difficulties. They were pretty sure they could get along
with the workingmen without so much friction. But the profit-sharing
scheme also had the aid of many excellent men among the employers, as I
have said. However, for one reason or another, the experiments all
came to naught. In some cases great expense was entered into to provide
comforts for the workmen, and after a few prosperous years depression
followed and the proprietors found they had undertaken too much. Several
large failures, brought about by such lack of judgment, helped to
produce disappointment and discouragement. Then it was found by
experience that the evil-disposed among the workmen were not to be
converted into honest, industrious, and faithful employees in any such
wholesale manner. Making men over could not be done in the block. There
never had been any difficulty in dealing with the sober, reasonable,
well-intentioned men. The trouble had all come from the vicious, the
incompetent, and the shiftless ones. And the more privileges this class
obtained, the more they demanded. If their working day was made shorter
in order to give them the opportunity of taking advantage of the free
facilities for improving their minds, they loudly demanded another
hour each day and frequent holidays, with the liberty of spending their
leisure time as best suited their tastes. If they were given a share
of the profits, they complained because it was so small a share, and
thought they were being cheated when the proprietors would not let
them inspect the books to see if the profits were not larger than
represented. Then as partners they claimed the right to be consulted
in the management of the business. Such demands brought on disputes, of
course; and the natural result was that strikes were not unknown even in
these humanitarian establishments. As the labor organizations were then
in full blast the better class of men were drawn into the strikes, which
sometimes became so serious that the owners were compelled to give up
their philanthropic efforts and go back to the old system of giving what
they were obliged to and getting what they could in return.

“In general, employers found they had still an unanswered problem on
their hands. An undue spirit of independence had been fostered among a
class of uneducated, ill-natured, and thick-headed workmen, and society
was rocked to its foundation in the effort to keep them within bounds.”

“Will you let me make another suggestion, Thorwald?” asked the doctor.
“Why did not all classes approach this difficulty in a businesslike way
and work together to remove it? Why did not the state see that the right
of private contract was a safe and useful one for all sides, and
cease to infringe on it by law? Why did not the public teachers make a
combined and continued effort to instill a conciliatory spirit into both
sides, and to show how peace and brotherly feeling would be a mutual
blessing? Why did not the employers--not one here and there, but all of
them--treat their men as they would like to be treated in their place,
make friends with them, talk reason even to unreasonable men, speak
kindly to the unfriendly ones, urge the value of sobriety upon the
intemperate, teach the incompetent, sympathize with the unfortunate, try
to reclaim the vicious instead of turning them off harshly, and in every
way strive to prove themselves to the men as beings of the same flesh
and blood with them? And why did not the workingmen receive what
was done for them with the right spirit--give up their envious and
suspicious feelings, improve every precious chance of getting knowledge,
work for their employers as they would for themselves, cease to use
the power of the unions unjustly, cultivate amicable relations with
everybody, and try in all possible ways to make true men of themselves?
If the men had worked along this line they would have found they were
bettering themselves in every way faster than they could by strikes and

“Ah! Doctor,” replied Thorwald, “you have now the true solution. Such
action would have annihilated the difficulties in a day. But to suppose
every employer and every workman capable of following such good advice
is to suppose that the world had then reached an almost ideal condition.
The very existence and character of the troubles show how imperfect men
were. It was a common saying then that human nature was the same as it
had been in the earliest days and that it would never change while the
world should stand. This was a mistaken view, for there had been a great
change. The heart had lost much of its selfishness and had begun to
grasp in some slight measure a sense of that distant but high destiny to
which it had been called.”

“If the world,” said the doctor, “was not good enough for these troubles
to be cured by kindness, I am anxious to know how they were healed. I
am sure you can tell us, for those people were your remote ancestors and
you are far removed from such vexations now.”

“That is true,” said Thorwald. “I can tell you how this social problem
was solved, and how our race has found release from the many dangers
that have threatened us. It has not been by man’s device or invention.
But God, whose arm alone has been our defense, has always called men
to his aid, and thus, in his own time and way, help has come in every
crisis. The most important changes in society have been brought about
gradually and without violence, and with that hint I think we had better
leave this subject for the present. Some day I want to go over with you
briefly the history of the work and influence of the gospel of Jesus in
the world, and it will then be fitting to refer again to the period of
which we have just now been speaking.

“I am sure you will find it a great relief for me to change the subject,
or stop talking.”

“We will not object to your changing the subject,” said I, “whenever you
think it best, but we shall try to keep you talking till we know a great
deal more about Mars than we do now.”



I went downstairs the next morning before the doctor was ready, and when
I met Thorwald I said, without thought: “A fine morning.”

“Yes,” he replied, “all our mornings are fine. I do not mean that the
sun is always shining or that we do not have clouds and a variety of sky
effects, but we know the clouds can be depended on not to give rain till

“Do you not lose something by having a perpetual calm?” I asked. “For
I understand the rain in the night comes only in gentle showers. In our
rough world some of us enjoy the grandeur of the storm.”

“How about those who are exposed to its fury?” asked Thorwald in reply.
“I do not see how anyone can really enjoy what is sure to be bringing
sorrow or even inconvenience to others. Could a mother take pleasure in
a tempest if she knew her son was in danger of shipwreck from it? Why
should it change her feeling to know her son was by her side and that it
was only strangers that were in danger?”

“But,” continued Thorwald, “are you and your friend ready for an
excursion to-day? If you are, I propose to give you a new experience.”

“We shall be delighted to accompany you, and as I see breakfast is ready
I will go up and tell the doctor to hurry.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t do that,” exclaimed Thorwald. “You must try to learn to
live as we do, and you will remember I said the other day that we are
never in haste. If, for example, it were Zenith who was late, I should
never think of calling to her to hurry, for I should know she must have
a good excuse for staying. Her liberty of action is as valuable to her
as mine to me, and however long she might keep me waiting, I should
feel sure that her action was the result of right motives and correct
reasoning. If the doctor does not appear, we can easily postpone
our excursion to to-morrow. There would be no lack of occupation for

“What a delightful feeling it must be,” I said, “to be always free from
hurry. It is the commonest experience in our imperfect state for one to
start a few minutes late in the morning, and then be on a constant jump
all day to make them up. One of the evils of our driving age is the
wear and tear of our nerves in what we consider a necessary haste to get

“Get where?” asked Thorwald.

“To get anywhere or to do anything that we set out to accomplish,” I

“I fear,” said Thorwald, “that I have talked too much about Mars and
not insisted enough on hearing about the earth. Suppose something should
happen to break off your visit?”

“You wouldn’t miss much, Thorwald.”

“We certainly should regret exceedingly not learning many things that
you could tell us,” he said.

“Yes,” I answered, “but you cannot profit by our experiences, while we
of the earth are in a condition where we need all the help and advice
you have for us. If we ever return to our home we want to tell all about
your advanced civilization and how you have overcome the evils that vex
our race. But I wonder why the doctor doesn’t come. I think I will go
and see, but I promise not to interfere with his liberty of action.” I
soon returned with my friend, and we all went to breakfast. The doctor
said he would not eat much, as he felt somewhat indisposed. Here was
something new in the life of this household, and each one began to
express sympathy and ask what could be done. The doctor was amused, and
I said I thought a good, hearty breakfast would make him all right. But
Thorwald insisted that something unusual should be done, although his
inexperience was so great that nothing feasible suggested itself at
first. Zenith was in favor of all repairing to the library, hunting
up the histories of the days when people were ill, and finding out
the proper remedy for his ailment. This would have been a logical
proceeding, but I thought to myself that they did not understand the
value of time in such cases and that the doctor would probably either
recover or die while they were at work.

As I did not appear to be any more alarmed than my companion was, the
excitement soon subsided. But Thorwald was not satisfied yet, and after
some further thought his face brightened and he asked me if a glass of
good wine would not be the thing for the doctor. When I replied that it
would probably not hurt him, Thorwald told his son to go and bring up a
bottle of the oldest wine in the cellar, and soon not only the patient
but the members of the family and myself were all partaking. No more was
heard after this of the doctor’s indisposition, and Thorwald no doubt
felicitated himself that he had effected a cure. The situation was
rather suggestive to me, and while we were drinking, and eating our
breakfast, I could not refrain from saying:

“If some of our friends on the earth could see us now, Thorwald,
we would be discredited in all that we might say about your higher
condition. It would do no good to expatiate on your ripe character
and on your attainments in knowledge and virtue. I fear they would not
believe much of it if they knew that you not only drank wine yourselves,
but encouraged its use by giving it to your guests.”

“Why,” said Thorwald, “you could tell them the wine was brought out to
be used as a medicine, and that the rest of us drank to keep the doctor
company. But when you see your friends you had better tell them the
truth at once, that while we all take wine here frequently this is the
only instance where I have ever known it to be used medicinally.”

“They would tell us,” said the doctor, “that you have made one mistake
at least, and that it is a dangerous thing to have wine in the house,
and especially to give it to children.”

“He would have a very gross and imperfect conception of our character,”
 said Thorwald, “who should have the thoughts which you express. I can
judge something of the nature of the feeling which you say exists on the
earth, however, for only a few days ago I was reading a full account of
the different temperance movements on our planet. Few subjects in our
history are more interesting. Do not despise the temperance reformers,
and if you think they are sometimes too radical you can afford to excuse
that for the sake of the absolute good they accomplish. All through
the early part of our career there was a perpetual warfare against the
drinking habit. At first wine was an ordinary article of food, and in
some countries more commonly used for drinking than water. There was
much abuse of it, but in general people used it as a matter of course,
without thinking they were any more responsible for the drunkards than
they were for the intemperate in eating. But the evil of overdrinking
increased, and some religious reformers found that the easiest way
to check it was to forbid all use of intoxicants. Here is an extreme
example that I have read of what one such reformer taught: ‘If a single
drop of alcoholic liquor should fall into a well one hundred and fifty
feet deep, and if the well should afterwards be filled up and grass grow
over it, and a sheep should eat of the grass, then my followers must
not partake of that mutton.’ Could any of your prohibitionists be more
radical than that?

“In later times many kinds of strong and poisonous drinks were made,
and untold harm was done by their use. Drunkenness was the most fruitful
source of crime and misery; it, more than any other cause, filled the
jails, the almshouses and the insane asylums; it kept men in poverty
and squalor; it scattered families and changed men, and sometimes women,
too, into beasts. No class or profession was free from the evil, for
it disqualified the scholar and statesman for their duties just as it
unfitted the laborer for his daily task. It helped to debauch politics
and public morals, while it brought disgrace and ruin to private
reputation and character. More money was lost by it than was spent to
educate and Christianize the world, and it cost more precious lives than
war and pestilence combined. Being a crime utterly selfish and debasing,
as well as extremely tenacious of its hold upon the individual life, it
was almost the greatest enemy to the spread of the gospel.

“Was there anything in the way of good to be said of the drinking habit
to offset all this harm? Men drank to be sociable and companionable and
to please their friends, and when the habit was fastened on them found
they had lost every friend of value. They took to their cups to drown
their sorrow, and found a sorrow more poignant among the dregs. They
began the moderate use of stimulants to give strength to the body or
activity to the brain, and discovered when too late that their abuse
had brought down in common ruin both body and mind. No, it is impossible
that anyone should ever attempt to make an argument in favor of

“The more active the age the more prevalent was this evil, but
the greater, also, was the determination to overthrow it. When the
conscience was quickened by the growth of Christianity and men’s lives
became more valued, many persistent efforts were made to stamp out the
crime of intoxication.

“Numerous societies were organized and good men and women entered
heartily into the work. Every argument was used to show the danger of
the drink habit and to teach the beauty and value of sobriety, appeal
being made both to the reason and the conscience. The power of the state
was invoked and punishment administered to the drunkards, while the
manufacture and sale of intoxicants were restricted and sometimes
prohibited. We see how firm a hold this evil had on all classes when we
read that very often public sentiment would not permit these beneficent
laws to be enforced. In all great reforms the apathy of a large part of
the people has been a most discouraging feature.

“Of course it was never intrinsically wrong to drink a glass of wine,
but in view of the enormous amount of sorrow and trouble caused by
overdrinking, can it be wondered at that many earnest souls came to
abhor everything in the nature of intoxicating drink, and to practice
and insist on total abstinence? Oh, I can tell you if I lived on the
earth now I should be a radical of the radicals on this subject.”

“Notwithstanding which,” said I, “here you are sitting at your own table
and pouring into our glasses this delicious wine.”

As a smile passed around at this remark it was Zenith who said:

“Do you see anything incongruous in that?”

I paused a moment to choose a reply, when the doctor spoke up with:

“Far be it from us, Zenith, with our earth-born ideas, to even seem to
pass judgment in this happy place, but I presume my companion was trying
to imagine what our temperance friends, who do not know you, would say.”

“As for us,” said Thorwald, “I trust we shall be justified in your eyes
at least, before we are through, but let us inquire about those whom you
call your temperance friends. I suppose they would have a poor opinion
of a man who was loud in his public advocacy of temperance and yet drank
wine at home.”

“I think,” I replied, “that I have heard some such term as ‘hypocrite’
applied to men of that class.”

“And yet,” continued Thorwald, “they would think it perfectly proper for
a man to keep razors away from his children, but at the same time have
one or more concealed about the house somewhere for his own use. It
might very easily be argued that razors were dangerous things under any
conditions; the children might find them by accident and do great harm
to themselves or others; the man himself, though accustomed to their
moderate use, might, in a moment of overconfidence, go too far and
inflict a serious injury on himself or even a fatal one; and, further,
it might be said that razors are of no real use to men, for nature knows
best what is needed for protection, and if hair on the face was not
necessary for the well-being of man it would not grow there. This
argument could be pushed until, under an awakened public sentiment, the
manufacture and sale of razors might be prohibited.

“I have said this to introduce a plea for tolerance of opinion. You were
created, I have no doubt, as we were, with different temperaments and
inclinations, which, with various kinds of education, produce different
opinions. You cannot all have the same mind on any given subject, nor
all approve of the same methods of reform, but you will make but little
progress in true temperance until you can bury minor differences and
all work together. You must learn that everything that has been made,
whether produced by the direct hand of God or through the agency of man,
has its proper use. Do you say that some people would express the wish
that everything intoxicating could be destroyed from the earth, as
having no proper use? All the evil in it will surely be removed, but the
good will remain. At present it is one of the stubborn obstructions in
your thorny path. If your way were to be suddenly made smooth and easy
your race would never learn self-denial, the only road that leads to a
higher state. Your present imperfect life is a daily conflict, and it is
only by battles won and temptations overcome that you will ever be built
up into virtuous and God-like characters.

“I said you must be tolerant. I can conceive that a man might feel
perfectly safe in the use of wine and have no scruples of any kind
against it, and yet be sincere in urging people in general to totally
abstain from it on account of the harm some might receive. This man must
not be denied a place in the temperance ranks. Another might think it a
sin to touch a drop. One might believe the only right way to deal with
the subject would be to prohibit the sale entirely, another would think
more might be done by some other method of restriction. All that I have
read of our experiences goes to prove that the people of the earth
will never drive out this evil till all shades of temperance people get
Christianity enough into their hearts to unite on a broad platform and
work as one army with a single purpose.”

“Will you not tell us,” I asked, “how the reform was finally effected on

“Like all other true reforms,” replied Thorwald, “it came about through
the sanctified commonsense of the church of God, not suddenly by any
means, but gradually and only after many years of severe struggle.
A combined effort of all good people, especially women, working with
spiritual as well as moral weapons, produced an impression which was
lasting. When men were taught from their childhood the dangers which
accompany the drinking habit; when one class of people denied themselves
all indulgence for the sake of the class who were weak; when drinking
became a disgrace, and those who could not keep sober were taken in
charge by the state and permanently separated from the rest of the
community; when the church awoke to its full duty and the rich poured
out their money; when men and women forgot fashion and pride and caste
in their love for the practical work of Christianity; when the power of
the gospel had strengthened men’s will and had begun to plant in
every heart a love for something purer than fleshly appetite; when the
spiritual part of our nature began to gain the ascendency and to occupy
the place for which it was made; then intemperance loosed its hold and
soon disappeared, never to trouble us again.

“You see it was a long road with us and I have no doubt it will prove
so on the earth, but do not on that account lose courage. And let me
counsel both of you to join the ranks of the reformers when you get

“Although intemperate drinking has long been unknown among us, as well
as all other gross imperfections of character, we still make good wine,
and no more danger is felt in drinking it than in using milk. Everybody
can have all he wants of it. Our tables may be supplied with the
luxuries of every clime, but we have learned that it is best for us to
be temperate in both eating and drinking. I am sorry your temperance
friends, as you say, would not approve of us, but when you see them
I trust you will do what you can to let them understand that such
temptations as this of which we have been speaking belong to the
childhood of a race, and that the people of Mars have long since passed
out of infancy.”



Mona did not feel obliged to be present at our conversations after she
had explained her position to us, but I saw her many times every day. I
tried to respect her feeling and avoid the subject which still occupied
so many of my thoughts. I fought against my passion, which I told myself
was unmanly, since it was not returned in the good, old-fashioned way.
What man of spirit would submit to the enchantment of one who, while
professing she loved him with her whole heart, declared in the same
breath that she also loved equally well half a dozen others? I tried
to make up my mind to shake off the spell and be free. To this end
I endeavored to examine my heart with the purpose of discovering if
possible the secret of Mona’s power over me.

I was sure I could not be weak enough to be held so firmly by her beauty
alone, lovely as she was. Her mental equipment did not seem to furnish
the ground for such a deep attachment, and I could not believe that
I was good enough to be so powerfully drawn to her by the inimitable
character of her spiritual nature. What, then, was the attraction? It
was not far to seek. What was it that first moved me, before I had ever
seen her? What accomplishment was it that always came to my mind first
when I thought of her? In short, what would Mona, silent, be? I could
hardly imagine. But then, she was not silent, and I knew well enough
that, struggle as I night, I never could successfully resist the subtle
charm of that voice.

So, as I saw no escape for me, I next began to study how I could infuse
into Mona’s love for me something more of the personal element. How
could I teach her to love me just a little for myself alone? Evidently
she had been educated in an atmosphere of the most uncompromising
monotony. Where everybody loved everybody what chance could there be for
lovers? I wondered what would move Mona. Some heroic action which should
appeal to her sympathies would probably do it. She had been pleased with
the part I had taken in discovering her retreat in the moon, and perhaps
something else in that line would help me. But what was there one could
possibly do in Mars which could be called heroic? I should have to
ask Thorwald if he could think of anything I could do to arouse the
imagination of Mona and bring her a little closer to me.

Not long after I had been indulging in these conflicting thoughts I had
a more promising opportunity than I had hoped for of showing Mona that I
could do something besides make love to her.

One morning she came to me and said she would like to go out for a long
ride. As I never lost an opportunity of being alone with her I eagerly
accepted this one and hurried off with her, lest any other member of
the household should appear and propose to accompany us. Mona was as
agreeable as ever, and chirruped away in her musical style as we walked
down the hill in search of just the right carriage. We soon found one
which pleased us, and as I was by this time perfectly at home in the
management of these vehicles, we started off at a brisk pace along a
road which took us through a charming section of the country. It made
me happy to reflect that this pleasant ride was at Mona’s suggestion.
Although she had peculiar views about my manner of wooing, she did not
shun my company, and I could not refuse to believe she really loved
me as she said. I turned on more power, and as our speed became
exhilarating I said to my companion:

“Mona, they will think we have eloped.”

“Excuse me,” came out in sweet notes, “you will have to explain.”

“Dear me, were your people so very proper that you don’t even know the
meaning of that word? Didn’t they ever do anything wrong?”

“Oh, is it wrong to elope?”

“That depends entirely on the point of view. But I cannot explain
further without bringing up the subject which you have forbidden me to
speak about.”

“What subject is that? I have forgotten that I have ever put you under
such a prohibition.”

“Why, the subject that is always nearest my heart and nearest my lips,
the subject of my great love for you, dear Mona, so different from my
regard for any other person.”

“Oh, I remember now, but I assure you I had forgotten all about it.”
 And here her voice suddenly lost much of its tenderness and assumed a
character which she rarely employed, as she continued, “But let us not
discuss that topic again. I already know all you have to say on it, and
why should we waste our time with such useless talk when there are so
many more valuable things to occupy our attention?”

“Forgive me,” I exclaimed. “If you will promise me not to sing in that
tone again I will talk about anything you wish.”

“I agree,” she responded, and never did her accents sound sweeter.

Somehow I was not so much affected by Mona’s coldness this time as
before, and I was able to recover my cheerfulness at once. I then
determined to give her no occasion for another rebuff if I could help
it, but to do all in my power to entertain her with what she called
sensible conversation. There were many things connected with society on
the earth in which she took a lively interest, and I made a great effort
to talk myself into her favor, so that she would not say again that she
preferred the doctor’s company to mine.

We had been riding a couple of hours or more, generally at a swift pace,
when, from a high point in the road, we saw we were approaching the
shore of the sea or a large lake.

Mona was so delighted with the view that I said:

“If we can find any kind of a boat on the shore we will have a ride on
the water.”

“Can you manage a boat?” she asked.

“Oh, yes, if it is not too large.”

“But it may be some new kind, something you are not acquainted with.”

“Then I shall have to study it out. But you are not afraid to go on the
water with me, are you?”

“If there is anything in this pleasant world to give me fear it is water
in such mass as that,” she replied, stretching out her hand toward the

“But I thought you were afraid of nothing,” said I.

“You have taught me the word,” she responded, “and I hardly know its
meaning yet, but I must acknowledge that I shrink from the ocean. Its
vastness, so much water, overwhelms me. You know it is many, many years
since the moon had any large bodies of water.”

“So it is,” I exclaimed, “and everything will be new to you. What sport
we shall have, and I shall make it my business to see that the water
does not harm you.”

We hurried down to the shore and found the prettiest little boat I had
ever seen all ready for us, as if we had ordered it for the occasion. It
was evidently intended for children, but was fitted with both sails and
oars, and also, I was glad to find, with a little screw and an electric
apparatus to turn it. I was overjoyed with our good fortune, and
prepared at once to embark. But Mona plainly hesitated. She kept up her
musical chatter and tried to be as cheerful as ever, but I saw she was
not as eager for the trip as I was. I did not let her see that I noticed
her manner, however, and went on with my preparations. When I had
brought the boat around so that she could step into it conveniently, she
looked in my face, and asked in a voice which trembled with excitement:

“Are you sure you understand how to manage it? It is all so strange to

She wanted to decline to make the venture, I thought, but her courage
was too great. Now was the time when I proved myself still a son of the
earth, with fallible judgment and a will too much engrossed with self. I
had been wishing for an opportunity to do some difficult thing for
Mona, something noble which should win her affection, and here, when the
chance offered, I did not recognize it. The truly heroic action would
have been to respect Mona’s feeling and give up the idea entirely, for I
knew she had a strong aversion to trusting herself on the water. But
it was really my own pleasure and not hers that I was seeking, for in
answer to her question I said hurriedly:

“Why, certainly. It is as easy to control as the carriage we have just
left. We’ll not put up the sails if you say so, and I promise to bring
you back all safe and sound in a short time. I am sure you will enjoy
the new experience, and then I want to hear how your voice sounds on the

“Well, I will go,” she said, “on your promise to protect me; but I have
the queerest sensation, I don’t know what to call it. Do you think it is

“Oh, no, it can’t be that, because there is nothing to fear. Are you
ready now? Let me take your hand.”

As she stepped in and felt the motion she realized how unstable the
water really was, and sank down at my feet, emitting an involuntary
note of not very joyful quality. But she showed great bravery and, as
I helped her to a seat, she said she would no doubt enjoy it after a
while. I now shoved the boat out and used the oars a few minutes,
but soon tiring of that exercise, I looked into the operation of the
electric motor and found it quite simple. Turning on the power, the
screw worked to perfection and sent the boat through the water in good

Mona was now recovering her spirits, seeing that no harm came to
her, and at my request she sang some of her native songs. This was
delightful, and I resigned myself to the full enjoyment of the occasion.
It seemed to me that the excitement she had just passed through added a
new and pleasing quality to her voice, if that were possible. As I sat
listening and musing, my memory carried me back to the first time I had
heard this marvelous singer, and I could not help contrasting the two
situations. I felicitated myself on my present happiness, for when Mona
was singing I wanted nothing more. I seemed to forget then that she
would not listen to my tale of love, or if I thought of it I attached no
consequence to it. The voice seemed to be a thing by itself, and a thing
which in some way appeared to belong wholly to me, whether Mona was mine
or not.

She stopped singing after a while and asked if we had better not start
for home. To which I replied:

“I turned the boat around some time ago, and we are now headed directly
for the place where we found it.”

When she expressed surprise at this I steered about in various
directions to show her how easily it was done, and then some mischievous
spirit, which. I myself must have imported into Mars, put it into my
head to try and see how fast our little vessel could go. My idea was
partly to satisfy my own curiosity and partly to treat Mona to as
great a variety of sensations as possible. The electric apparatus was
extremely sensitive, and a slight movement of the lever made an instant
increase in our speed. A little more, and we began to go through the
water at quite a handsome rate. I enjoyed it immensely, and if Mona did
not like it she had pluck enough not to make it known. This emboldened
me to put on still more power, which sent the boat ploughing along at
such a velocity that the spray flew all about us and the boat shook so
that we kept our seats with difficulty. Not knowing what I might be led
to do next, and being in reality terribly frightened, if she had only
known what the feeling was, Mona now mildly expostulated with:

“Isn’t this a little too fast? Something might happen.”

“Don’t be afraid,” I replied. “I’ll take care of you. The doctor must
have taught you that last word, as it is not used here. You know nothing
ever happens in Mars. Everything goes along in the even tenor of its
way, moved by laws which are fixed and certain. This boat, you see,
is strong and well able to bear the strain. The water is smooth and
contains no hidden rocks, and it is perfectly easy to steer clear of the
shore, which you see is some distance off yet. But now that I have given
you this little excitement, which you will not regret after it is all
over, I will stop the current which produces this great force and bring
in an artificial law, as it were, to override the natural law now in
operation. Just look at this lever and see how easily it is done.”

I seized the handle, intending to shut off the power suddenly, but by
some unaccountable mistake I turned it the wrong way. Instantly I saw
the bow of the boat jump out of the water and go over our heads, and
then Mona and I realized that something had actually happened on Mars,
for we were both buried under the boat.

I was the first to extricate myself and come to the surface, and, not
seeing my companion, I thought she was surely lost. I might save her
yet, though, and was just about to dive under the boat again, when her
head appeared insight, only a little way from me, her eyes wide open
and, really, a smile on her face.

“Can you swim, Mona?” I cried, excitedly.

She had not the breath to answer or else thought my question
unnecessary. But I soon found my own answer when I saw her head sinking
again just as I had reached her. I clutched her, and, as I held her head
above the water, I began to understand that I had something on my hands
to fulfill my promise to take care of her. At this instant I saw one
of the oars from the boat floating a little way from us and managed to
secure it, holding Mona with one arm and swimming with the other. I now
helped my companion to half support herself by grasping the oar, while
for the rest she was induced to throw an arm over my shoulder. In this
way I was left free to make what progress I could through the water, and
I lost no time in swimming toward the shore, since there was no hope of
our being able to make use of the boat, which now lay, bottom up, on the

All this was done without a word from Mona, although I had been talking
to her freely, giving her directions and assuring her of my ability
to save her. As this was her first experience in drowning, she had
evidently been trying to sing under the water and had found it so
difficult that she had determined to keep her lips closed till she was
well out of it. With this thought in my mind I said to her as soon as we
were under way:

“Your head is so far above water now that you can open your mouth with
perfect safety. You see I can talk, and my head is much lower than

She was so situated that I could not see her face easily, and therefore
I do not know whether she ventured to unstop her lips or not, but no
sound came from them if she did. Perhaps the water still filled her ears
and made her deaf. So I called aloud:

“Can you hear me, Mona?”

No answer in words, but I imagined I felt a slight pressure of her hand
on my shoulder. I toiled on, musing over her strange behavior, till
it occurred to me to try a subject which had never failed to bring a
response from her.

“I hope this will make you more affectionate to me, dear Mona,” I said;
and then, as she made no answer, I continued:

“If we reach the shore alive and get home safe you will love me more
than you do Foedric, will you not?”

I thought this would bring an answer, and I was not disappointed, except
in the manner in which it came. Not the faintest note escaped from her
lips, but a throb of feeling came along her arm, and her hand grasped
my shoulder with unmistakable vigor. I suppose she thought I would
understand what this answer meant, but I was puzzled. It might mean so
many things. Perhaps her heart was softening toward me and she was so
much affected by her love for me, stronger and deeper than she had ever
thought it could be, that she dared not speak. With this possibility
in view I began to feel very tender toward her and to experience the
pleasure of one whose love is returned in full measure.

But then her answer might have quite a different meaning. What if she
were telling me that she had determined never to speak another word on
that subject, and that my question was an offense to her? Surely she
had told me often enough to talk about more sensible things, and perhaps
this was only a new and forcible way of repeating the same injunction. I
reflected, too, that it was hardly fair to take advantage of the present
situation to force upon her a prohibited topic of conversation.

There was another possible meaning to her manner of answering me.
Perhaps she was indignant because I had insisted on her getting into the
boat with me against her wish, and held me strictly responsible for
all that followed. With this view in mind I imagined she was saying to

“I want nothing to say to you. I accept your assistance because I cannot
get to shore without you, but when once out of this dreadful water I
shall have nothing more to do with you.”

To place against the latter theory I had the fact that Mona’s face had
beamed with pleasure all the time I was getting her fixed so I could
swim freely. Dwelling upon this memory my mind returned to thoughts of
love, and I felt that I must try once more to start that familiar song.
So I said:

“Forgive me, Mona, if I have offended you, and let me hear your voice
again. You are too good to punish me so severely for my fault in getting
you into this trouble. Will you not cheer me with a few notes while I
bear you safely to the shore?”

Again a pressure of the hand but no expression from the lips, and I was
left to further conjecture over the strange mood my companion was in.
I swam leisurely, so as not to exhaust my strength, and as there was a
considerable distance to go I had plenty of time to think after I had
found it impossible to induce Mona to enter into conversation. Although
so near, my companion seemed far away, and I became extremely lonesome.
In trying to determine what had occasioned such a mishap in a world
where I had been taught to believe such things entirely out of date,
I came to the conclusion that the Martians owe their freedom from
many misfortunes to their ripened characters, rather than to anything
peculiar in their physical laws. With my imperfect development I had
made an error in judgment in taking Mona upon the water, and with my
untrained mind I had simply made a mistake when I turned the lever of
the electric apparatus the wrong way. The Martians had reached such high
attainments in every direction that it was practically impossible for
them to make mistakes. Thus had they freed themselves from many of the
vexations which harass the people of a younger world.

I was fortunately able to endure the strain of the great task which I
had undertaken, and finally succeeded in bringing my precious burden
to land and helping her to a place of safety. We were both pretty well
fatigued with our exertions, but felt no danger from our wet clothes,
because of the mild and balmy air.

Mona’s behavior still perplexed me. Her manner was delightfully pleasant
and familiar. Now that we were safe she appeared to appreciate the
humorous part of the situation, and I was loath to believe that she
could or would affect such good nature if she were harboring unpleasant
feelings toward me. But I could not account for her continued silence,
for as yet no word nor sound of any kind had come from her lips. Her
face and hands, however, were continually in motion, and after I had
overcome my usual stupidity I discovered that she was actually making

“Why, Mona,” I exclaimed, “can’t you speak?”

She shook her head.

“Nor sing, I mean?”

Another shake.

“Do you mean to say you have lost your voice?”

A nod.

For a moment a shadow settled upon her face, occasioned, no doubt, by my
falling countenance, for I must have shown something of the great shock
to my feelings. Mona without the voice of Mona! I could not at once
realize the depth of my loss. And now it was her turn to attempt to
restore my spirits, as we fell back to our original mode of conversing.
I urged her to make an effort to sing, and she told me she had tried
many times, and that it had grieved her to be so unsocial while I was
toiling so hard to save her life.

“Why, my dear,” I answered, “I thought you were angry with me for
speaking to you again about my love.”

Her reply was a look so full of tenderness that I was almost sure
that, if she had had her voice, she would have used it more kindly than
before. Still it may have been only compassion.

By this time we had found our carriage and were on our way home, and I
am sure that if, on our arrival, our friends had judged from our looks,
they would have supposed I, and not Mona, had experienced a great

Avis had returned to her distant home several days before this, but
Antonia and Foedric were at Thorwald’s when we arrived, and I had the
unpleasant task of relating to the whole household our sad experience. I
did not spare myself, although they were all kind enough to offer every
manner of excuse for me. Everybody showed sympathy with Mona in
all possible ways, but she herself still exhibited the same sunny
disposition as ever, although the house seemed quiet without her bright
and happy song.



Family life in this model home went forward without a jar. Thorwald and
Zenith exhibited not the least sign of restraint before us, so that
what we saw from day to day we were sure was their natural and usual
behavior. They never worked at cross purposes, were never impatient
nor forgetful of each other, but without effort, apparently, to avoid
friction, they always did what was best pleasing to themselves, and at
the same time what was just suited to each other. This happy state of
affairs did not come from a division of labor, by which Zenith should
have nothing to do with outside matters and Thorwald nothing to say
about how things should go in the house, but it seemed to proceed from
their innate love of harmony, their perfect compatibility, and their
practical equality. The doctor and I saw there was something here far
different from anything existing in the conjugal relation on the earth,
but we could not decide just what it was. The doctor was strongly of the
opinion, however, that it arose in some way from the higher condition of

“You know,” he said, when we were alone, “the civilization of a people
on our planet is pretty correctly measured by the position occupied by
the women, so that here, in this exalted society, they must be held in
high esteem, if there is the same analogy between the two worlds in this
as in so many other things.”

I quite agreed with him, and took the first opportunity when we were all
together to introduce the subject.

“I should like to direct the conversation,” I said, addressing our host
and hostess, “to a topic of considerable interest, just now, to the
people of the earth. I am sure we can learn something of value in
regard to it from you, and I will introduce it, if you will pardon my
impertinence, with a personal question. Will you please tell me who is
the head of this household?”



Two answers in one breath.

“It is very polite of you,” I said, “to disclaim the honor and each one
give it to the other, but, seriously, is there no head?”

“Why, no,” answered Thorwald; “we never think of such a thing, and yet
you must admit that things run smoothly without it.”

“I will then try again, if you please,” I said. “Which of you is the

To which Zenith replied:

“That question is hardly appropriate, for you know we do not work for
our daily bread. The bread would come anyway, whether we worked or
not; but then, as a matter of fact, every one does work at some useful
occupation, because we have found out by long experience that it is much
better for us than idleness. If you reply that you have not seen us work
while you have been here, I will say that our time is considered to be
well employed if we can be learning anything or imparting knowledge to
others, as this is supposed to add indirectly to the general well-being
of society. But perhaps what you want to know is which of us does the
more to benefit the world, and even this would be a difficult question
to answer. Thorwald creates, we will say, an elaborate design for a
noble cathedral, and as he watches its fair proportions rise under the
hands of skilled men, who take an equal pride and satisfaction in their
work, his heart is made glad by the thought that for many years after he
has left the body the structure will be used as a place for teaching the
way of life, with its graceful spires pointing men to heaven. While I,

“Let me tell that part,” interrupted Thorwald. “While Zenith, with just
as strong a feeling of responsibility for a share of the world’s work,
composes a beautiful song and writes the music for it, and then sings it
before a vast audience, while the phonograph catches it and holds it for
future generations. Is she not doing as much as I am toward earning the
bread for the family?”

“It certainly cannot be denied,” I answered. “But what I want to find
out is, to use a homely expression common with us, which of you two
holds the reins in this home?”

“Well,” replied Thorwald, laughing, “that is a figure of speech which is
not employed here, for we use no reins of any kind; but I know what you
mean, and I will answer you by saying that we each hold one rein, and in
that way drive as steadily as if we were one person.”

“But when disputes arise, which one gives in?”

“Disputes never arise, and if they did we would both ‘give in,’ whatever
that expression means.”

“If not your wills, do not your wishes or inclinations sometimes oppose
each other?”

“Why, no,” Thorwald answered quickly. “It is impossible, and for this
reason: each one of us is so intent on trying to please the other that
we are saved from all temptation to selfishness, which is the root and
source of all differences.”

While I was considering what next to ask, the doctor broke in with:

“I think my companion will be obliged to discontinue his questions
and accept the truth that here we have found an ideal household, where
husband and wife are in reality equal. Let me ask if the women, all over
this happy world, are treated with as much consideration as in the case
before us.”

“Why, what a funny question,” exclaimed Zenith, before Thorwald could
speak. “Why don’t you ask if, all over this happy world, we treat our
men with consideration and respect? But, to save you the trouble of
asking, I will say that, all over this happy world, a man is held in
as high esteem and is as tenderly cared for as a woman, every bit. Your
words, Doctor, remind me that I have several times wanted to speak to
you about a certain manner which you and your friend have exhibited
toward me. No one could accuse you of disrespect to Thorwald; indeed, I
think your carriage toward him is excellent, but with me you seem to be
a little strained, and your manner is a trifle effusive. Pardon me
for the criticism. I know your action is well meant, although it is
something I am not accustomed to.”

“I suppose,” said the doctor, “you refer to our feeble and, it appears,
stupid efforts to be polite.”

“Oh, then I ought to feel complimented instead of finding fault with
you. But why should you wish to be more respectful to me than to
Thorwald? He is more worthy your regard than I am, and has as many
rights in this house as I have, exactly.”

“We have been taught to pay an extra deference to women,” answered the

“Why?” asked Zenith. “Because they are superior beings?”

“Hardly that, I think.”

“Then it must be because they are considered inferior, and you seek to
hide your real feeling, which is one of commiseration, by a false show
of politeness.”

“That sounds harsh,” said the doctor, “and I believe you are not

“Oh, I do not mean to criticise you personally,” Zenith made haste
to say, “but the system. It seems to me that you, Doctor, try to be
sincere; and assuming that to be so, let me ask you why you are
more ceremonious in your manner to your neighbor’s wife than to your
neighbor’s husband.”

“Well, let me see. Why do I instinctively make a special show of respect
in meeting a woman? I never analyzed my feeling, but I will try to do
so for you. I think one principal reason is because it is so very
conventional that she would expect it, and think me either piqued or
ill-bred if I omitted it. Then, deeper than that is a desire to tell her
that I recognize in her and admire those graces and amenities which
are supposed to be peculiar to her sex. And I suppose there is, also,
a little selfishness in it, as if I were asking her to take note that I
knew what were the usages of good society.”

“But would you not also tell her in effect by your flattery, if you will
excuse the word, that she and the rest of her sex are by birth not quite
equal to men, and you are trying to make up the difference all you can
by politeness?”

“I am not conscious of such a feeling, I am sure,” answered the doctor.
“It seems to me that woman is entitled to some extra attention because
she is physically weaker than man.”

“True,” said Zenith; “that is a good reason why she should be

“And should we not maintain and practice toward her the spirit of true

“Most certainly. But women should also exercise the same spirit toward
men. The duty is reciprocal. The days of knight-errantry, when men were
chivalrous and women were merely beautiful, should not last forever;
women, too, should learn to be chivalrous. Do not imagine I would have
you less considerate or thoughtful of anyone, or less demonstrative in
your feelings, if you will only remember that men and women are equal,
have equal duties and privileges, and should have similar treatment.
Great respect should go where it is deserved, whether to man or woman.
If I were an inhabitant of the earth and a woman, I should try to have
some such thought as this: one man of character knows another good man
is his equal; therefore as they treat each other so I would have them
treat me, for then I would know that they held me, also, as an equal,
and not as a doll, pretty and well dressed perhaps, but brainless, nor
as a child who must not be told things too deep for its mind.”

“I begin to understand you,” said the doctor. “You first get me to admit
that women are not a superior order of beings, and then you argue that,
as we do not treat them exactly as we do each other, we cannot consider
them our equals, and therefore nothing remains but that we must look
upon them as inferior to us.”

Zenith gave a pleasant little pink laugh and answered:

“I see you have found me out. But you do not deny that my logic is

“I have tried to tell you several times,” returned the doctor, with a
smile, “that, as for me, I do not feel guilty of harboring the least
degrading sentiment toward women. But I cannot answer for the opinions
of the world at large. This subject promises to be more interesting than
we anticipated. I see you know a great deal about it. Have women always
been accorded an equality with men, or is it a part of your mature

“Now, Doctor, just see how prejudiced you are. You would never think of
asking if the men of Mars had always been the equal of women. It would
be quite as natural with us to ask it in one way as the other.”

“I will try again, then, by asking if the two sexes have always been so
happily equal as at this time.”

“I will give you a direct answer to that question. They have not. But
I think I have talked enough for once. Thorwald will tell you all about
our tortuous course in reaching our present condition, if you wish.”

“Not at all,” said Thorwald. “I would like to tell it, but this is a
topic that Zenith has taken a special interest in, and she shall have
the pleasure of talking to you about it.”

“Now then!” I said to myself, “here is a difference right away. Zenith
says Thorwald must tell it; Thorwald would like to do so, but insists on
sacrificing himself for Zenith’s sake. Now, what if Zenith should prefer
the pleasure of self-denial, and refuse to let Thorwald immolate his
desire so readily? What could prevent war in this happy family? Would a
quarrel be any less a quarrel because its cause was unselfishness rather
than selfishness?”

But if I, with a worldly heart, was expecting a lapse from these
excellent people, I was disappointed, for Zenith, with a look of wifely
affection toward Thorwald, said pleasantly:

“Very well, since Thorwald is so kind, I will do my best, if you are
sure you will not tire of hearing me talk.”

The doctor and I expressed our pleasure with the arrangement, and Zenith

“I wish to say at the start that, whatever may have been your experience
on this question, it is hardly possible that your mistakes have equaled
ours, for the folly and wickedness of our race have been stupendous and
of long continuance.”

“If you will excuse the interruption,” I said, “I will suggest that we
can sympathize with you, as our history shows the greatest injustice to

“Your remark proves to me that you cannot fully sympathize with us. I
did not infer, as you seem to do, that the women of Mars had been the
only victims of injustice.

“But without further delay let me begin, only do not hesitate to break
in upon my story with any inquiries that suggest themselves to you.

“We read that God created man, male and female; that is, there came
forth from the hand of the Maker a male man and a female man, and all
through that early age of gold they loved each other, and served their
God with purity of heart and without a selfish thought. God was their
father, they were his children, with equal privileges, equal affection,
and equal ability to do faithful service. No evil spirit was near
to whisper in the ear of either a suggestion of personal leadership.
Ambition, that ambition which would exalt self at the expense of
another, was not yet born, and neither of these happy beings could
conceive it possible to achieve a higher happiness by lording it over
the other.

“So they lived till sin came; and among the woes which sin brought in
its train there were few more dreadful than the decree that the man
should rule over the woman and that her desire should be unto her
husband. For thousands of years our race struggled against that giant
evil. During a long period the condition of woman was so low that we
know nothing of her, and when she reappears it is only as the servant
of man. Made in the image of God as the companion of man and an equal
sharer in all his rights and duties, she is now his chattel, a piece of
property, held for his selfish use or disposed of for his advantage.

“Even in these dark days individuals of our sex rose out of the general
degradation and showed that they were fitted by nature for a higher
position. But sin and ignorance kept the mass of them under the heel of
their masters. As civilization advanced there came some mitigation of
their lot, and where pure religion gained a foothold women began to
receive recognition; but their state was deplorable indeed among all
those peoples whose religion was only gross superstition and idolatry.

“In the process of time Christ came and brought the light of heaven
to this dark world, and from that hour woman can well say that her day
began to dawn. One of the sweetest strains in her song of salvation is
that evoked by the memory of her resurrection from misery and abasement
to a position of honor among the children of men. The change, however,
was very gradual, for Christianity itself was slow in gaining ground;
but the gospel was ever the friend of woman, as of all the oppressed,
lifting her up where she could influence the world and begin to fulfill
her destiny. As fast as the nations shook off barbarism and became
in any degree enlightened, the unnatural burdens were lifted from
the shoulders of woman, although for a long time she was compelled to
perform more than her share of severe toil even among people who thought
themselves civilized.

“Then came a time when, in nations of some refinement, there was such
a reaction against the injustice and degradation to which woman had so
long been subjected that she suddenly became an object of sentimental
regard among courtly men. Her noble qualities were exaggerated far
beyond their merit, and she was set on a pedestal, to receive homage and
all the outward forms of respect from those whom she so recently served
as a menial. Being so poorly fitted by her long training in serfdom
for such exaltation, what wonder is it that her head was turned by the
flattery, and that her recovery was slow and difficult? The insincere
and superfluous manners of that period remained for ages a vexation to
our growing intelligence and a hindrance to our true progress; and,
from what you have said, I am inclined to think you of the earth are now
going through some such experience as ours.

“After that epoch had been passed, woman never fell back to her former
condition, although she did not yet for a long time reach a position
that was at all enviable, except as compared with the dark days of her
bondage. But she was now where she could take advantage of the general
uplifting of the race, and though kept in the background by man as much
as was possible, she was constantly growing and learning, preparing
herself for a future of which she would then dare not even to dream.

“And now I am coming, in this rapid sketch, to that period of activity
and change which Thorwald has described to you in its industrial
features. In portraying some of the evils of those days, arising from
our almost ineradicable selfishness, he was obliged to make his picture
a somber one, a necessity under which, happily, I am not placed. Looking
at the times, not as compared with the present era but with what had
gone before, which was the only comparison the people of that day could
make, there was much room for encouragement. It was, in truth, a bright
day, whose beauty, however, consisted not so much in the realization
of happiness as in the promise of still brighter days to come. Material
prosperity abounded, education flourished, and religion was beginning
to creep down from men’s heads into their hearts. Wrongs were righted,
justice enthroned, and philanthropy sprang into being. Even while there
was so much evil, and while some men seemed to be trying all they
could to keep back the breaking dawn, the day was surely coming. The
brotherhood of man, long preached as a settled principle, now became
a living force, showing itself in a multitude of devices for relieving
distress, lessening pain, alleviating poverty, and for the general
betterment of society.

“Surrounded by such a universal spirit of improvement, woman felt the
impulse of new life, and heard the call to a higher service to humanity
than she had ever yet rendered. As men’s minds broadened and their
hearts grew more tender, and as their sympathies reached out to the weak
and down-trodden of every class, it was not possible that their ancient
prejudice against woman could much longer survive. Her rise from this
time forward was rapid. Let us examine the position which, under the
influence of this kindly feeling, she soon came to occupy. Protected by
many special laws, guarded by all the legitimate forces of society, but
exempt from military and police service, honored for her high and noble
qualities, respected by all whose regard was of value, and loved with a
true affection which scorned the question of individual rights, her lot
seemed indeed a happy one. Shielded from the severe struggles of life,
freed from the cares of business, released in a great measure from
uncongenial work and from the dangers attending exacting labor, with the
disagreeable things in life kept from her as much as possible, always
seeing the best of every man’s character and manners, and, more than
all, being supreme in her natural domain, the home, with none to dispute
her right, what more could she ask?”

“What, indeed?” I remarked, as Zenith paused a moment after her
question. “The picture you have drawn looks so bright, beside your
description of her former lot, that I have no doubt she was now
contented and happy.”

“So you think that shelter and protection and the love of husband and
children and the serenity of home ought to be enough to satisfy one
who was created with a spirit as restless, a brain as active, an
individuality as marked, and hands as clever as those of man?”

As Zenith threw this question at me and waited for me to answer, I
realized that I had been caught by her former inquiry, and found not
that Zenith was about to take advanced ground on the subject before
us. Wishing I had not drawn her attention so squarely to my personal
opinions, and yet feeling obliged to stand up for my position, I said:

“It seems to me that woman’s surest path to honor and happiness is that
marked out for her by nature, a path which she adorns because so well
fitted for it, and that to forsake the home and compete with man for
the thousand places in the work of the world would be to cast aside the
charm of her womanliness and all that makes her what she is, a solace
and comfort to all the world. If she seeks for a pleasurable life, where
can she find such keen and lasting pleasure as among the duties of home,
and if she is ambitious to lift the world to a higher plane, where is
it possible for her to have so much influence as in the nurture of the

“So spoke the men of our race in the era I am describing to you,”
 replied Zenith. “It seems as if you must have been reading some of our
old writers, so closely do you follow the ideas then prevalent. I have
read and reread those histories until I am quite familiar with them,
and you shall hear how such views as you have expressed soon became very

“I am sure your account will closely concern us,” I said, “for the age
of which you are now speaking must be that corresponding to our own
times on the earth. The woman question is attracting special attention,
and seems bound to remain with us indefinitely; but I am frank to say I
think our women are making a mistake in trying to elbow their way into
man’s domain, whatever may have been the result of the movement in this
favored world.”

“I suppose you would have them stay at home where they belong,”
 said Zenith, with a good-natured laugh, which sounded as if she were
confident enough of her ability to meet any possible argument.

“Yes,” I replied, “out of pure kindness to them. It is an astonishing
thing to me that they can think of gaining anything by giving up all
that is distinctive in their nature and becoming more like us. I am not
so much in love with my own sex as to enjoy seeing our sisters and our
wives and daughters trying to make themselves over into men.”

I now felt that I had said enough, and so expressed myself to Zenith,
but she replied pleasantly that she was glad I had told my thoughts, as
it gave her an opportunity to say some things that might not otherwise
have been called for.

“You seem to think,” she continued, “that woman’s supreme happiness is
to be gained by self-effacement. I suppose her custom is with you, as it
formerly was here, to renounce her own name at the marriage altar.”

“It is,” I replied.

“And from that hour,” resumed Zenith, “she makes every effort to bury
herself, to deny her personality, and to lay aside whatever individual
desires and aspirations she may have had; that is, if she is what
you would call a true woman. If she objects to this renunciation and
attempts to make an independent career suited to her talents, then she
is strong-minded and is trying to unsex herself. With the world full of
work waiting for her nimble fingers and loving heart, she is compelled
to suppress all secret hope of doing something to impress her own
character on that world, because her only duty is in the home. A man is
also called upon to be a good husband and father, but that by no means
comprises all he is expected to be and do. To him it is given to strike
out into untrodden fields, and, without reproach, to make a name for
himself if possible.

“You say work is hard and disagreeable, but is it all dull and
uninteresting? Are there not sweet moments of hope in every work, and
then the joy of achievement when it is over? Do not men find this joy
and the rewards of labor amply sufficient? The more difficult the
task, the greater the satisfaction when it is accomplished. Business is
perplexing and uncertain, you say, but what of the triumphs of success?
Would any man refuse to undertake an enterprise because success was not
certain? The very uncertainty adds zest to the business, and makes
hope possible. From all this striving and achieving, and from all the
satisfying rewards which come with success, woman is debarred. Then
there are the professions and the wide range of occupations which
require education and special training. What a variety for man to choose
from, while you would confine woman to one; and a great many women, not
being born good cooks or good housekeepers, cannot fill that one with
any credit to themselves. So what can life be to them compared with
what it ought to be? Think of the opportunities they might have in these
higher occupations of competing for the prizes of life--honor, fame,
position, riches, and, above all, the consciousness of doing some good
in the world. Oh, it is impossible for you to realize anything of the
longing in woman’s heart to be someone, to do something, and so to be
relieved from the everlasting monotony of the treadmill, which, if men
were obliged to submit to it, would make the majority of them insane.

“You see I have put myself in the place of one of my sex in that olden
time, and have spoken as she felt when to express her feelings would
have been almost a shame to her.

“What I desire to show you is that woman had not then received all that
was due her, although men seemed to think she was fully emancipated. But
events moved rapidly in that stirring age, and this great question could
not be kept in the background in a day when every abuse and injustice
was allowed a hearing and reform was in the very air. Even the dumb
beasts had such powerful advocates that cruelty and unkindness
were greatly checked. What wonder then, as men’s sensibilities and
consciences became quickened, that they should begin to see, what they
could not see before, that a fuller liberty ought to be accorded to
woman? But this vision came not without help. Sometimes in our history
we have known of a race being deprived of their freedom, and so benumbed
by their condition that they desired nothing better, and so perforce
waited for a movement for their enfranchisement to come from without. It
was not so in this case. Women themselves cried out against their
lot. They were not so enraptured with the calm and quiet of their
conventional life but that they felt the stirrings of ambition for
something different, and they did not fear to raise their voice for more

“Liberty!” I echoed. “Were they really deprived of liberty?”

“Yes, liberty to choose a calling that would suit their individual
tastes and satisfy their growing ambition.”

“Excuse me,” I again interrupted, “but were not these women who
exhibited so much restlessness unattached--that is, without many family
ties? And were not the great majority so contented in the shelter of
home and so engrossed in the care of husband and children that they were
entire strangers to any such disturbing fancies, or ambitions as you
call them? And, again, did not this large class of happy and busy wives
and mothers resent the action of those self-appointed liberators who
were fighting for an image of straw and crying themselves hoarse over
imaginary wrongs?”

Zenith smiled again in that peculiar manner which told me, in the
pleasantest possible way, that she was perfectly sure I was on the
losing side, and with the smile she resumed:

“Your questions are so familiar to one who has studied this subject that
they seem like another plagiarism, as it were, from our histories, but I
will give you fair answers.

“It is true that the early protests came from the solitary women,
unfortunately not a small class at that day, who, being without legal
protectors, felt the inequalities of the law and the unjust restraints
put upon their sex by society, but the truths they spoke came with added
force because of their intimate acquaintance with their needs.

“You are wrong in your supposition that the mass of women were so
shallow in mind as to know nothing of those longings for a fuller, more
satisfying life. Deep in their nature, planted by the Creator himself,
was the same lofty spirit with which man was endowed, and it could not
be smothered by marriage. Taking a husband should not, and in reality
does not now, change one’s ambition or aim in life any more than taking
a wife does, but in those benighted days men, after marriage, could
go forward with their plans just as if nothing had happened, while
the women were supposed to forget their high hopes and aspirations and
confine themselves entirely to the trivial round of domestic duties.
The men, however, were much mistaken if they thought their wives were
forgetting. They but bided their time.

“In your last question you are not altogether wrong, for there were a
few unthinking ones who joined with some of the men in ridiculing the
whole movement as unnecessary and foolish. But this class had not much
influence, and, in spite of such opposition as they offered, the reform
made steady progress.

“As a help to obtain what she was striving for, woman asked for the
right of suffrage, and thereupon had to undergo a fusillade of cheap
criticism from those who would not understand her, and who supposed she
wanted this privilege as an end and not as a means. Men were slow to
grant the right to vote, but after much discussion suffrage began to be
allowed in matters where the women were particularly interested. With
the first concession, however, men realized that the force of all their
arguments was broken, and before many years the full right was bestowed.

“And now, Thorwald, I am sure our good friends did not come so far from
home to hear me talk all the time. The rest of the subject concerns
your sex as much as mine, and you had better take up the story at this

“Oh, no,” replied Thorwald, “I shall not take the narrative away from
you now, you may be sure, for what is left is just the part you can best
relate. I shall enjoy it as much as our friends from the earth. But I
propose that we hear the rest this afternoon, and that, in the meantime,
we go out for a drive.”

“A drive,” I asked, “what do you drive?”

“You shall see,” Thorwald answered, as he stepped to the telephone. I
thought I should hear his message, but found the instrument had been
further improved. In the use of the telephone as I had known it,
everybody in the house was much surer of hearing what was said than the
person at the other end of the line was, but here the one addressed was
the only one to get a word of the communication.

Thorwald talked to us a short time about other matters, and then asked
us all to prepare to go out. When we reached the door the doctor and I
were surprised to see a beautiful and commodious carriage, to which were
attached, with the lightest possible harness, four of the handsomest
horses we had ever seen. There were, besides, two fine saddle-horses for
the children, who were to accompany us.

Thorwald drove, but without rein or whip, the horses being guided
perfectly and easily merely by word of mouth. The animals were also so
large and strong that they seemed to enjoy the sport as much as we did.

“Do you mean to say,” I inquired, “that such a turnout as this can be
had for the asking?”

“Certainly. I just said through the telephone that I would like a
carriage for four persons, and two saddle-horses. The man who has the
care of the horses is a friend of mine who likes the work better than
anything else.”

“The horses appear to be well broken,” the doctor remarked.

“Broken,” said Zenith, “what do you mean by that, Doctor?”

“Why, it is an expression by which we mean that the high spirit with
which they were born has been subdued, making it easy to train them to

“They must be wild, then,” spoke Zenith again, “and you are obliged to
tame them. The difference here is that the horses are born tame and do
not need breaking, and though they have plenty of spirit, as you see,
they are so intelligent and have such solidity of character that there
is never any danger that they will become unmanageable.”

“That must be so,” said I, “or you could not be sure of being free from
accidents. But tell us, Thorwald, how it happens that we have not seen
others enjoying this delightful mode of traveling.”

“It is not very singular that you have not seen any horses before,” said
Thorwald. “They have been entirely superseded in all kinds of business,
you remember, by mechanical power, and even for pleasure-riding most
people are too tender of heart to enjoy using them. They fear the horses
will be fatigued, and they do not like to see them straining themselves
in dragging a heavy load, when there is a force that has no feeling
ready to do it a great deal better.

“But you can see these horses are not working very hard, and it is a
good thing for us sometimes to give up a little sentiment. There is some
danger that our sympathies may carry us too far. For instance, it is
probably a real kindness to these horses to give them a little work, if
we are only careful not to render their service galling to them; and yet
there are many people who never drive, on account of the feeling they
have for the beasts.”

“It would be a good thing if we had more of that sentiment on the
earth,” said the doctor.

[Illustration: “THE HORSES ARE BORN TAME”]



After an exhilarating ride, in which the doctor and I, certainly, were
not troubled by any over-sensitiveness in regard to such robust horses,
we returned to the house and soon found ourselves seated in the music
room listening to one of their famous dramatists reciting his own words
through the phonograph. Next we had some music, and then a poem, from
the same prolific instrument.

When this entertainment was over, and after lunch, Zenith, at our urgent
request, seconded by Thorwald’s solicitation, resumed her narrative.

“We read,” she began, “that during the time when men were grudgingly
bestowing the right of suffrage on our sex, woman was making rapid
strides toward a position in society fitted to her talents and
aspirations. One occupation after another became available, and it was
no longer a disgrace or hardly a peculiarity for women to be earning
their living instead of depending for support on their fathers or
brothers. This tended to create in them a feeling of independence,
and in many employments they had every right to be proud of their
attainments, for, with so little training, they often surpassed the
men at their own trades. Even then, however, some of the old
prejudice against the sex seemed to remain in force, since women were
discriminated against in the matter of wages. When they did the same
work and did it better, still their pay was less than that of men. But
this was a temporary injustice, which disappeared, as it was bound to
do, when woman had acquired her full freedom and had been in the field
long enough to prove her right and ability to stay.

“The work at which women excelled was that requiring a quick
intelligence, nimble fingers, and the faculty of easy adaptability. In
the realm of physical strength woman was not a competitor, but there was
another field in which she more than made up for that loss, and in which
she early began to show great native ability. That was in all pursuits
demanding the education of the mind. Here is where she was to look for
the greatest of her victories. Nature had endowed man with a superior
strength of body and muscle, but woman with a higher order of mind.”

“I must interrupt you here, Zenith,” said the doctor. “This is assuredly
an instance where your race differs materially from that of the earth,
for with us man has by nature the stronger mind.”

“How do you know?” asked Zenith.

“It has been proved so in all ages.”

“Yes, but does not the expression ‘all ages’ include with you only the
ages in which man has been the ruling spirit, and woman has been kept
down and allowed but little opportunity to show the strength of her
mental faculties? You know our history takes in not only a period
similar to that covered by your whole career, but also other ages which
we believe correspond with the years yet to come for the inhabitants of
the earth. It has been during the latter era, a time which you have not
yet seen, that woman has proved the truth of my assertion.”

“I wish to make myself understood,” said the doctor again. “I am willing
to grant the equality of the sexes, as far as natural rights go; that
is, that every man and every woman ought to have the opportunity to
develop all their talents, untrammeled by any edict or convention of
society. Perhaps I would agree with you also in believing it would
be better to treat men and women alike, with open-hearted, sincere
courtesy, and use equal ceremony in showing respect to individuals of
either sex. But it seems to me that there is a vast difference between
all that and your latest position. There are many people of our
generation on the earth, and their number is rapidly increasing, who
believe in the essential equality of the sexes, but I never heard one
put forward anything approaching the claim you make, that woman was
created with a higher order of mind than man--I believe that was your
expression; and this is why I say that in this particular your race
differs greatly from ours.”

To which Zenith replied:

“I am not so sure of that, my dear doctor. It would seem hardly fair
that man should be given both physical and mental superiority. But
please tell me again why you think man has the stronger mind.”

“Because he has done the thinking of the world. The intellectual
achievements of woman, though occasionally brilliant, are not to be
compared with those of man. This is true in every department throughout
our history--in science and art, in religion, in literature, in
government, and in everything that I could name. It is hardly to
the point for you to say that woman would have done more if she had
possessed a fuller freedom; perhaps it is true, but it seems to me a
matter of conjecture. Neither is it a complete answer for you to
say that in the years to come woman, being wholly enfranchised, will
revolutionize the world by her unexpected powers. We can judge only by
what she has done. Excuse me, Zenith, for trying to uphold my point.
It is rather discouraging, when I can see by your face that you can
demolish my argument in a moment, whenever you choose to attempt it.”

We all laughed at the doctor’s want of courage, and Zenith answered:

“I beg your pardon; I am greatly at fault if I have any such expression
in my face. My confidence, if I have any, is not in any supposed ability
I may have in conversation, but in our experience here on Mars. Your
history matches ours so well up to your generation that I cannot but
think the likeness will continue; and if it does, then woman, in your
near future, will prove the truth of my statement. But before I proceed
to tell you what she has done in this world, let me ask you if your
women have shown any mental peculiarity which distinguishes them from

“Yes,” answered the doctor, “their intuitive perceptions appear to be
more developed than those of men, probably because they use them more.
A man may reach a certain conclusion by a course of reasoning, while
a woman will often arrive at the same point much quicker by intuition.
That is, a man will tell you why he knows a thing, when a woman simply
knows it because she knows it.”

“Is that faculty akin to anything else with which you are acquainted?”

“Yes, we call it instinct in animals.”

“Is not the possession by woman of that quality a silent but powerful
suggestion to you of the fact that she was treated like an animal in the
dark days of her inthrallment?”

“I had not thought of it,” returned the doctor, “but it certainly may be
looked upon as a sad commentary on that rude age.”

“Do you consider this instinct an advantage to woman?” asked Zenith.

“Certainly; it is a great help to her, often serving with much success
in place of other faculties.”

“Would it be a valuable quality to add to man’s mental equipment?”

“Yes, indeed, if he could retain all his other powers of mind.”

“Well, now let me ask you what would come to pass if the women of the
earth, possessed already of that quickness of thought, that ability to
discern the truth by direct apprehension, should, by thorough education
and many years of patient training, acquire the power of reasoning, the
judgment, the strength of mind, and all the intellectual powers now held
by your men?”

“That is a very large ‘if,’ and I cannot tell you what would happen,”
 answered the doctor.

“I have only described,” continued Zenith, “what actually took place on
our planet. When the movement for giving woman a higher education began,
men looked at the subject just as you do now. Women were supposed to be
of inferior mental capacity, and it was thought to be a foolish thing to
attempt to educate them. ‘Better educate the boys,’ men said, ‘and let
the girls learn to cook and sew and to play the piano; that is all that
will ever be required of them.’ But, in spite of every discouragement,
the girls improved their opportunities so well that they were soon
taking the prizes away from the boys. Broadminded philanthropists of
both sexes endowed schools for them, and the highest institutions of
learning opened their doors to them. When the young women, almost from
the start, began to be successful in competitive contests in different
departments of scholarship, it was generally thought that such cases
were exceptional and would not be apt to be repeated very often. But
this was a great mistake. These instances proved to be no exception. It
was found that woman’s facility of thought and native acuteness gave her
an immense advantage over the masculine mind in mastering any ordinary
course of study. But this was surface education. The reasoning power
and the solidity of mind for which men were distinguished in mature life
came later, but they came.

“At first, only here and there a girl was fortunate enough to be offered
a liberal education; but when it was found that in almost every instance
they brought great credit on themselves, the number increased with
rapidity, until a college course was the customary and expected close of
almost every girl’s school-days. For it was not the rich only that had
this advantage, since by this time education was free, being provided
either by the public or by universities richly endowed.

“All this time the boys seemed to find a great attraction in business
and the trades, and appeared to be willing that the girls should have a
monopoly of the higher education. One circumstance that greatly helped
this state of things was the extraordinary furor that prevailed just
then in the matter of manual training. This system had received more or
less attention from educators for many years, and it had been introduced
into schools as an addition to the regular course of study. That was
a material age. Men desired first of all to be practical, and the
new method of teaching, being eminently practical, became exceedingly
popular with the boys. The parents, not dreaming where it would end,
and seeing the eager interest with which their sons now crowded into the
schools, encouraged them in it.

“Schools of technique, in which the literary branches were entirely
subordinate, sprang up on every hand, and two or three years spent
in these institutions took the place of a college course. The old
universities tried to meet the changing sentiment by paying more
attention to science, by giving the students a free choice of studies,
and by shortening the course when desired. But the mechanical idea in
the new education seemed to be the attraction. The boys were seized
with a passion for doing something with their hands, and their inventive
faculties were quickened, increasing in a remarkable degree their
interest in their work and studies.

“For a long time this movement was thought to be a great advance in
education. It was such an improvement on the old way, to find the young
men learning something useful, rather than wasting their time over the
dead languages and other things they would never need after finishing
school. And it must be acknowledged that all this industrial impulse
was of advantage to the world in its way. It multiplied labor-saving
machinery, added to the people’s comforts in many ways, and increased
the general prosperity and well-being of society as far as material
improvements could do it.

“But there was another side to the picture. So much time could not be
given to training the hand and hardening the muscle without detracting
from the attention due to the cultivation of the brain. To be sure, the
brain was active enough, but it was receiving a one-sided development,
which boded it no permanent good.

“I have spoken at such length of this almost universal rage for
technical education, because it was a chief factor in turning the world

We all smiled at this expression, and the doctor asked:

“How did it overturn the world?”

“By aiding in taking the real brain work away from the men and giving it
to the women.”

“Did this actually happen?”

“Certainly it did. Not in a day, but in the process of time. How could
it be otherwise, when the women alone had been for many years going
through that long, patient mind-drilling which is the only preparation
for a thorough education? When the young men observed that a civil
engineer, a superintendent of a factory, or even a skilled mechanic
could earn a larger salary than a college graduate, it took away much of
the incentive for the old-fashioned education, and they were perfectly
willing to see their sisters take what they had not time for.

“And so it came about that the women began to crowd into the learned
professions; and, as there was not one which they could not adorn, the
prejudice against them soon wore off, and before many years they were
competing with men in all the grandest fields of human action. Even in
the matter of government woman’s power was felt. Men were so engrossed
in the endeavor to develop to their fullest extent the material
resources of the planet that they became careless of the higher duties
of citizenship, especially after the women began to take control of
things. They saw affairs were well managed, and seemed to be relieved to
have them taken out of their hands, not dreaming that they were forging
chains for themselves which it would take long years to break. Although
the world was constantly growing better, it was far from a perfect age.
Human nature was still a synonym for selfishness, and with men and
women measuring swords on every intellectual battlefield a contest for
supremacy was inevitable.

“Man was absorbed in his chosen work, he was indifferent to public
affairs, and he was, in his way, proud of the position woman was taking
in the world, but he could not let her assume his place as acknowledged
leader without a struggle. He said he had given her her rights, and now
she wanted to deprive him of his rights.

“There was too much truth in this, for society had not reached a state
where the sexes could live in perfect equality. It was admitted by all
that there must be a head, both in the household and in the state, and
it long remained a question which should rule. But was there ever a
struggle of long continuance on the earth in which mind did not triumph
at last?”

“I must answer in the negative,” replied the doctor, “although I
perceive it will help your argument.”

“Why, this is not an argument,” continued Zenith. “It is simply a story
of what has taken place on this planet. If you have any doubt of it,
ask Thorwald. You have known him longer than you have me, and, perhaps,
would have more confidence in what he would say. He ought to have told
this part of the story himself. I know you think I am exaggerating,
because you see I am making my sex come out ahead.”

Zenith said this in a playful manner, which showed she was as far as
possible from being offended, but the doctor pretended to take her
seriously, and replied with feeling:

“Do forgive me, Zenith, for my thoughtless expression, and pray do not
stop in your narrative at this interesting point. I will tell you how I
came to use the word to which you object. While you were talking I was
thinking how one would be received on the earth, who should attempt an
argument to show the probability that anything like what you are telling
us should ever come to pass there.”

“Well, how would such an argument be received?” asked Zenith.

“It would probably be passed by without any notice whatever, if you will
excuse me for telling the truth,” answered the doctor. “It certainly
would not be looked upon as serious, and I fear it would not even
receive the dignity of being called funny. Even the women would laugh
feebly at the extravagant notion, and think no more of it. But we were
talking of Mars, not of the earth, and I am exceedingly anxious to know
how affairs progressed here, though there is no likelihood that they
will ever be paralleled among us.”

“I would not be too sure, Doctor,” spoke up Thorwald. “Better wait till
Zenith is through.”

“I shall wait longer than that before I believe the earth will ever go
through such an experience. But now I am ready to listen.”

“When I speak of woman assuming leadership,” resumed Zenith, “do not
misunderstand me. Although society was not perfect, still it was not a
gross age, and there was no return to the manners of those rude times
when women were cruelly treated and men took all the good in the world
to themselves. Oh, no, there was no absence of good manners. Women
treated men with the greatest courtesy, showing them every mark of
outward respect, and being much more polite to them than to each other.
And it was not all show, either; for, in spite of the fact that the men
were patronized unmercifully, the women really thought a great deal of
them, and often remarked to each other that the world would be a dull
and uninviting place without them. They admired their robust strength
of body, their brawny arms and well-trained hands, as well as their many
excellent qualities of mind; and they never tired of telling them in
honeyed words how necessary they were to their happiness.

“The women were very considerate also in the matter of laws. The rights
of the men were well looked after. To be sure, they were not allowed
to vote and hold office, but in their fortunate, happy condition it was
incredible that they should care about a little thing like that. Were
they not perfectly protected by the law, and did they not have as much
to do already as was good for them? The women argued that if the men
were given the right of suffrage it would only be the cranks who would
avail themselves of it, for the great mass of the men were perfectly
satisfied with their condition.

“A man was allowed the right of dower in his deceased wife’s estate, and
he could hold property in his own right, even after marriage. His wife
could not even deed away her real estate without his consent. By this
you see how carefully the men were shielded from the liability of coming
to want.

“In matters of the heart it was not considered modest for a man to make
a direct proposal, but in reality the affair was in his hands, for no
woman could make any advance unless she received encouragement from the
object of her affections.”

“How about the home?” asked the doctor. “Did man take the place of woman

“He did whatever he was asked to do in the home. You must know that at
this time domestic duties were quite different from what they formerly
were. Men had not given up all their thought and time to handicraft for
nothing. The drudgery had pretty well disappeared under the full play of
the inventive faculties, so that the home duties were not exacting.
What work there was, was shared by the sexes, each doing that which was
appropriate. The management of the home was, of course, in the hands of
the women.”

“Was there no department in which the men were masters?” inquired the

“Not one. They thought they were in full charge in their peculiar field
of labor, but here, as everywhere, the women dictated their terms when
they chose.”

The doctor was bound to learn all he could about this curious state of
things, and asked again:

“What effect did all this strain upon the mind have on woman’s physical
nature? You have admitted that she was weaker in body than man, and it
seems to me she must have been ill prepared for the struggle you have
narrated. From the experience we have had in educating women, we believe
it is a positive injury to them to attempt to reach that high degree of
culture which is easily and safely compassed by men. Our idea is that
nature never intended that they should study much, for their minds
are really not any stronger than their bodies. Too much brain work has
already ruined the health of a good many girls, and when we left the
earth the reaction against the higher education of woman had fairly
begun. For we believe that her mental faculties can be developed only at
the expense of her physical powers, and that if she were to persist in
such an abnormal cultivation of her intellect it would be sure to result
in the deterioration of her offspring and disaster to the race. So, for
the sake of the generations unborn, we--that is, the male men of the
earth--who still retain our grip on affairs, have about decided to put a
stop to this foolish mania among our young women. We will probably pass
laws, setting a limit in the several branches of study beyond which
girls shall not be allowed to go, either at school or privately.”

We all laughed heartily at this idea, including the doctor himself, who

“Well, what else can we do to stop them? Stop them we must, or we shall
soon become a race of weaklings and mental imbeciles.”

Thorwald had been getting more and more interested, as I could see by
his face, and now broke out with:

“Doctor, you surprise me. I have acquired such a respect for your
intelligence that I can hardly believe you serious. If Zenith will
excuse me, I should like to answer your question. Hard study did not
hurt our young women, and it never hurts anyone. It is careless living
and a disregard of the laws of health that do the harm. Physical
training was an important part of the education of our women. They could
never have accomplished what they did without sound bodies, and it must
be unnecessary for me to say that the more highly cultured they became
the more our race improved. Learning never made poor mothers. Ignorance
does that. Do not keep education out of the home. Keep out folly, low
desires, sordid ambitions, uncultivated tastes, narrow-mindedness, envy,
strife, wastefulness, inordinate pleasures, and every evil thing that
comes from an empty, ignorant mind. Keep out the darkness; let in the
light. It is not God’s way to give capacity and desire for noble things,
and then shut the door to their attainment.”

“Many thanks, Thorwald,” exclaimed Zenith, “for your good help. And now,
Doctor, will you ask anything further?”

“I must admit,” answered the doctor, “that your experience gives you
more knowledge of the subject than we possess, and perhaps we are wrong.
Of course, we want that to come to pass which will be best for our race.
But let me ask if the gentler sex, as we call them, did not lose, by
such superior culture, their gentleness and their charm. The masculine
type of woman is not at all popular with us.”

“This question, Doctor,” answered Zenith, “shows that you have a poor
conception of our condition at that time. This great change in society
had been gradual, and I must remind you that by the time it was
accomplished the world was much improved in every way, although, as we
have seen, it was by no means perfect. In her treatment of man there was
none of that domineering spirit which you might expect; and the victory
she had achieved was never used harshly. Her reign, if firm, was mild.
And woman herself, in the general betterment of things, had improved,
even in the direction you mention. Instead of becoming less womanly, in
her changed condition, every admirable quality in her had ripened toward
perfection, while she had thrown off much that was disagreeable and
unlovely in her disposition. In personal appearance the advance had been
remarkable. Being relieved of the severe labor and sordid cares which
were once her lot, and with her mind set free by high culture and her
artistic tastes developed, nature asserted itself by making her truly
a delight to the eye and a comfort to the heart of mankind. Whatever
charms she possessed in her old life were now doubled, making her indeed
a blessing to the world and preparing her for the next great change,
which came with the advent of the present age.”

“In spite of the sweetness and beauty surrounding them, did not men fret
at the firm hand that held them down?”

“At first, yes. But as time went on it came to be looked upon so
naturally that it was hardly thought of as a thing which should not be.”

“How long did such a state of things continue?”

“It continued until our race had outgrown all such trivial things as
selfish ambition and personal strife, until our characters had ripened
for a higher service than the old world had ever dreamed of, and until
love reigned in our hearts, supreme and unquestionable.”

“What makes the situation seem so strange to you is because it is so
contrary to your experience. Let me see if I cannot make it look more
reasonable to you by epitomizing our history on the subject in this way:

“Our career is made up of three eras. The first was one of brute force,
when man ruled by strength of body and subdued the world to our use.
Everything weaker than himself, even woman, his natural helper, was made
to feel the power of his arm. This age lasted long, but its rigor slowly
passed away, and it merged gradually into the second era, which was
one of mind. Here, too, man thought to rule, claiming the leadership
by right of possession and natural endowment. But woman’s sharpness
of intellect was more than a match for him when it was given full
opportunity, and she won, as we have seen, after a long struggle. The
third and present era is a spiritual one. In the realm of the spirit men
and women are equally endowed, and hence it is that in this age you find
the two sexes living in perfect equality.

“Comparing the words you have spoken with what I have read of our
history, I conclude that the earth is now passing from the first to the
second era. The struggle is on. Soon your sex will be considering the
question of the emancipation of man. You have the sincere sympathy of
both Thorwald and myself, and that you may emerge from your trials as
happily as we have from ours is our heartfelt wish.”

Zenith closed, and the doctor was silent.



The doctor and I had not forgotten that Thorwald still held in store for
us a talk on the most important theme of all. We wondered why he did
not give it to us, as he had many opportunities in those days of quiet
pleasure. He seemed to take great delight in hearing from us everything
we chose to tell, asking numerous questions which showed a growing
knowledge of the earth and its inhabitants.

It was the doctor who finally inquired when we were going to hear what
he had promised us.

“I suppose I have been waiting,” answered Thorwald, “for you to ask for
it. I could listen to your talk a great deal longer with pleasure and
profit. It is astonishing how closely your history matches ours up to
your times. The period you have been describing to me as that in which
you live corresponds with a similar age here. It was a time of great
activity and rapid change, and one whose records make a deep impression
on many of our writers, judging from the attention they give to it. It
was an enviable time to live in, if you compare it with the previous
ages, but chiefly on account of the promise it contained of the glorious
day to come.

“Doctor, are you sure you desire to hear about the growth of
Christianity in this world and the blessings it has brought us?”

“Most certainly,” answered my companion. “I want to learn all I can of
your history and present condition, and, as religion seems to occupy
a chief place in both, anything you may say on the subject will be
listened to with delight.”

Perhaps Thorwald was a little disappointed because the doctor did not
give a more personal reason; but he failed to show it if he was, and,
after calling to Zenith to come and sit with us, he began:

“Fair shines the sun on this fair world. So shines the sun on other
fair worlds. Its piercing rays dart out in all directions from the
great glowing mass, and as they fly outward they lose in brilliancy
and intensity every second. In eight minutes some of these rays are
intercepted by the earth and find there an atmosphere well adapted to
receive them. In twelve minutes some strike this world, and although
they are less powerful than those that fall on the earth, the conditions
here are favorable for their reception. At varying distances from the
center other rays find other planets as ready to welcome them, no doubt,
as ours are.

“As the sun is in the physical universe, so is the Sun of righteousness
in the domain of the spirit. Infinite in power, wisdom, and love, he
comes wherever there are souls to save, shedding light in every dark
spot, bringing life and hope and comfort, and lifting men out of the
darkness of sin up to a condition of peace and happiness. Many ages ago
he came to this planet, and started into life those forces which have
brought us to our present state. Then he came to the earth, and you
are at this time beginning to feel more intensely the impulse of his

“Your illustration is a forcible one,” said the doctor, as Thorwald
paused a moment, “and weakens my former position, which would make it
necessary for me to believe that all the rays of the sun, except the
few that fall on Mars and the earth, are lost. It seems to me now quite
reasonable that some do their beneficent work on other planets also.”

“Yes,” answered Thorwald, “whenever they are ready to receive them. And
now I hope to lead you to see that the same intelligence that made the
sun and gave to its rays such power has been present as a personal force
in this world, molding it to his use and raising up a people here for
his service and glory.

“In the perfect plan of that omniscient being the advent of the Savior
occurred at the most opportune moment. Deep in the heart of one nation,
firmly grounded in their nature by ages of discipline and suffering, lay
the belief in one only God. The other nations of the world, surfeited
with sinful pleasure and worn out with a vain pursuit of happiness, were
ready to abandon the gods of their imaginations. Some lofty souls among
them, following intently every prompting of their better nature, had
developed high characters, while of God’s peculiar people many pure
hearts waited, with joyful expectancy, the coming of the promised

“He came, the lowly, patient one, and, although the world was made by
him, it knew him not. The greatest event in the history of the globe
passed almost without notice; but the seed was planted, and in God’s own
time the growth began, which has filled our happy world with the perfect
flower of Christianity.

“The religion which Jesus taught aimed to save the race. It was
universal, not only as adapted to all nations, but as fitted to
regenerate and perfect the whole nature of man--body, mind, and soul. It
would take me too long to tell all the changes it wrought. It found the
heart hard and unfeeling, and made it tender and loving. It found men
filled with every evil passion and almost without a desire to be better,
and it gave them a longing to be free from sin and pure in heart. It
found the race in darkness and despair, and brought them hope and light
and comfort. Above all, it attacked the demon of selfishness and gave
men the promise that in time they should be entirely free from its

“Slowly the truths of Christianity spread. The missionary spirit was
born and the gospel was carried to remote lands. It was ever God’s way
to work through the agency of his creatures, whether these be brute
forces or intelligent beings. And so through imperfect men the perfect
rule of life made feeble progress. But as it was the work of the Spirit,
there was never any danger, even in the darkest ages, that the gospel
would not triumph over all the sin and degradation of the world, and
lift men to a higher plane.

“For a long period the truth lay buried beneath ignorance and
superstition. Then came an awakening, and men, with their minds more
enlightened and their consciences quickened, began to catch something of
the true spirit of the gospel. Christianity now became a dominant power.
Under its benign sway civilization advanced, intelligence spread, and
Christian nations outstripped all others and extended their power to
every part of the globe.

“Soon the ameliorating influences of the gospel were felt on every hand.
Government began to be administered with more regard for the interest of
the governed, and men came to receive consideration simply because
they were men. All the aggravated forms of oppression ceased under the
newborn spirit of human brotherhood, a sentiment brought into the world
by the founder of Christianity.

“This brings us, my friends, up to that intense age of which I have
spoken before, and which you say you recognize as that corresponding
with the time in which you are living on the earth. Let me state briefly
the condition of some of our affairs of that period.

“The industrial world was in a ferment, as we have seen, and it was only
in a general and impersonal way that the Christian religion shed its
influence on the majority of the actors in that drama. Individuals,
among both employers and workmen, had good impulses and indulged them
as much as they could, and I am inclined to think this class was larger
than most of our writers admit. But we read that the greater part were
moved chiefly by motives of self-interest. Still, Christianity was
a growing force among them, and they could not entirely escape its
influence. They were born under its elevating power, and, even if they
did not acknowledge its sway, they were quite different men from those
who lived before Jesus began to preach the law of love. This remark will
apply to all the people of that day who were born under Christian skies,
and yet acknowledged no personal allegiance to the Savior. They were the
unconscious heirs of a priceless inheritance.”

“I just want to say, Thorwald,” the doctor interrupted, “that I can
accept that idea fully now, with respect to the people of the earth,
though at one time I should not have been willing to do so.”

Thorwald smiled his answer, and without further reply continued:

“Let us look at the business situation. National and local governments
had begun to extend their powers beyond what had before been considered
legitimate. With one excuse or another they had taken out of private
hands many branches of business, and there was a strong tendency toward
a continuance of the policy. There was no difference in principle
between carrying the mails and carrying freight and passengers, or
between giving the people cheap water in their houses and furnishing
them with cheap coal.

“It was acknowledged that there were certain things which the city or
state could do better than private enterprise, and the difficulty was
to decide where to draw the line. While this uncertainty existed in the
minds of most people, there was a small but aggressive party who were in
favor of not drawing the line at all, but of putting everything into
the hands of the government. They would have had the people, in their
corporate capacity as a nation, raise and distribute the products of the
soil, do all the manufacturing and dispose of the goods to consumers,
conduct all the trades and professions, and, in fact, carry on every
kind of business necessary to the well-being of society.”

Of course, this woke up the doctor, whose practical mind could see
nothing attractive in such an arrangement as that, and he was moved to

“I trust, Thorwald, that your ancestors did not adopt that crazy scheme
as an experimental step in their development. But I beg your pardon for
using such vigorous language without knowing whether they did or not.”

Thorwald smiled, as he answered:

“You are safe, Doctor. From actual experience we cannot tell what the
result of such a trial would be, for the vast majority of the writers,
and the people too, of the period were opposed to the plan, and no doubt
with good reason.

“But I do not wonder that this idea had a fascination for some
right-minded people, in the promise it gave of doing away with the evils
arising from competition, to which I have before referred.”

Thorwald paused here, as if to invite one of us to speak, if he wanted
to do so. I accepted, by saying:

“I wish you would tell us a little more on that subject. Competition is
said to be the life of trade with us, an accepted principle of honest
business. And yet you speak of it as something that should be done away

“If you could know,” answered Thorwald, “how repugnant the idea is to
us of the present day, you would understand how truly you have voiced my

“I have no doubt,” I said, “that your experience has taught you much on
the subject that we do not know, but this is the way it looks from our
standpoint: There is born in us a passion for getting that which belongs
to others, or that which others are trying to get. In some of us this
instinct is developed more than in others, and some are unprincipled
enough to indulge it unjustly; but let me ask you if it is wrong to
follow the leadings of such a desire if we are strictly honest in all
our dealings.”

“We might differ over the meaning of the phrase ‘strictly honest,’ but I
will answer your question by saying it is certainly wrong.”

“But it seems to be a part of our very nature.”

“Do you offer that as a reason for its being right? I never heard you
claim that human nature was perfect,” said Thorwald.

“Then,” I returned, “in our present state, with which you are now
pretty well acquainted, is it not possible to carry the principles of
Christianity into business?”

“To answer that as I should be obliged to do would make me appear to you
too arbitrary, and so perhaps I had better let you find your own answer
in the questions which I will ask you. Is not unselfishness one of the
first principles of Christianity? Now, the very essence of competition
is a regard for self-interest, with no room for thought about the
interests of others. In an ideal state of society the rules of life
given by Jesus are fully obeyed. In such a state, would a transaction
be right where each person was trying to do what was best for himself,
although it might be to the damage or loss of another? It might be
called honest to own slaves, and probably in the history of the earth
a great many sincere Christian people have owned them, but you have now
reached that condition, I think, where you can see it is wrong. So your
way of doing business may be honest, but in our more ideal state we see
that it is not right. Our remote ancestors, through the various stages
of our development, did a thousand things with clear consciences which
we could not do now. I understand your situation perfectly, and am sure
your race will outgrow its imperfections.”

I thanked Thorwald for his faith in us, and he resumed his narrative.

“In the age of which I am speaking,” he said, “the church was taking a
prominent place in the world, but had not assumed the leading position
which it afterward reached. Many nations were still without the light of
the gospel, and even in nominal Christian lands the actual supporters
of the church were in the minority. In the midst of much evil and many
discouragements the church was trying to regenerate society, but it had
a difficult task, partly on account of the great perversity of the
human heart, and partly because the church itself was not free from
the imperfections of the age. Its members represented all shades of
spirituality, the great majority of them having but a faint appreciation
of the glorious cause in which they had enlisted. They called themselves
soldiers of the cross, but were so burdened with the ordinary but more
pressing duties and occupations of life that they never dreamed of the
grandeur of the service, nor of the brilliant deeds of which the church
was soon to show itself capable.

“One chief hindrance to the growth of the church and to the spread of
its influence was the spirit of division within itself. Theoretically,
all believers, the world over, were one body, or church, but in point of
fact there were many churches, and in some particulars they were quite
sharply opposed to each other. This evil was in full force in that age,
but there were signs in the air that it was not to remain forever a
stumbling-block to the faith of the world.”

“We are afflicted in the same way,” said I, “and some of us are hopeful
enough to look forward to a really united church. But many think it is
a part of our nature to differ, and are not able to see how all can ever
come to think alike. They say that if by a miracle all should be brought
into one church, and then left to their own inclinations, in a short
time there would be as many sects as there are now.”

“And so there would,” returned Thorwald, “with your present ways.
Your imperfect nature must change under the softening influence of
the gospel. The differences that cause such trouble come from each
individual’s selfish regard for his own opinion. All must learn not only
to respect but to embrace the opinions of each other when they are
right opinions. Two streams may run in parallel channels forever if each
persists in following strictly its own course. If one turns toward the
other and the other turns away, they will still be kept apart; but let
each turn toward the other, and how quickly they come together.”

I told Thorwald I could apply his illustration to our condition and we
would try to profit by it.

“One of the promising features of the religious situation,” he
continued, “was the good start the church had made in missionary work.
In the zeal with which this was taken up it was quite a new departure
for the church, for not long before this time good men believed that if
God intended to save the heathen he would do it without any help from
man. But now success had come in the work in sufficient measure to
greatly encourage the faithful souls engaged in it.

“When I speak of zeal, however, you must understand that this quality
was confined to a few people. Nearly all were only half-hearted
Christians at the best, doing something, to be sure, but not at all
alive to the grand opportunity of bringing the world to the feet of the
Savior. Only here and there was one found who was ready to give himself
unselfishly to the work, and the amount of money given to advance the
cause of Christ, at home and abroad, was small indeed compared to that
spent in luxurious living and hurtful indulgences.

“At the same time, it was an age of progress. The ordinary span of life
was long enough to show improvement in many ways, and men, seeing the
rapid advancement the world was making, took courage and looked forward
more confidently for the dawn of a brighter day. Religion was beginning
to be more of an every-day matter, and Christians were coming to a faint
realization of the real value of the gospel in its adaptation to all
the needs of men. Care for the body, better ways of living, and right
conduct toward others were all taught, as well as duty to God, and
society began to feel the benefit of such sensible teaching.”



We all hoped Mona’s affliction would prove temporary, but after a number
of days had passed, and no improvement appeared, Thorwald had an expert
anatomist come to the house and make an examination of the organs of her
throat. Although this was a new way in which to apply his skill, as the
Martians of that era were all physically perfect, he thought he might be
able to discover the cause of the trouble. The result of this experiment
was somewhat reassuring, for our scientist told us there was no defect
of organ or injury to any part, closing his report with the remark
that the case presented the greatest mystery of the kind he had ever
encountered. My companion, the doctor, now expressed his opinion, which
coincided with my own. This was, that Mona’s trouble was occasioned by
the shock to her nervous system when she was plunged into the water,
an element which she so much dreaded. Our good friends, including the
expert, were utterly unable to understand the meaning of this theory.
The remark that Zenith made was:

“Why, but for our friend, and others who pry into these things for us,
we would never know we had any nerves.”

“Happy will our race be,” responded the doctor, “when it arrives at the
same blissful ignorance.”

“Well,” continued Zenith, “if your opinion is the correct one, what have
we to hope for in Mona’s case?”

“Unfortunately,” answered the doctor, “we have no experience to teach us
what to expect. We can only hope with you that she may speedily recover
her voice, which has seemed to form such a great part of her, and has
given us all so much delight.”

Perhaps it was imagination, but it seemed to me that Mona’s behavior
toward me was more affectionate than it had formerly been. She had told
me before, to be sure, that she had loved me with all her heart, but in
these latter days she appeared to seek my society more and to show other
indications that her love was assuming more of the personal element for
which I had once so assiduously sought. But how was it with myself? This
question forced itself on me, one day, and I was a little startled to
find that an answer did not spring up spontaneously. Was it possible
that my love was becoming cold? I would not admit it. Just as the poor
girl had lost her chief attraction, should I turn from her and forget
all my former professions? On the first suspicion that such might
possibly be my desire, I said it was a wicked thought and I should
never let it be true. But even if I could not force my heart to remain
faithful, no one should ever know it but myself.

A little more time elapsed and I discovered that, in spite of my brave
resolutions, Mona, silent, was filling less and less of my thoughts,
and that I was living on the precious memory of her lost voice. But this
discovery did not shake my determination ever to be to Mona herself a
true and faithful lover.

At this juncture I was sitting alone, one morning, going over in my mind
the strange vicissitudes of my love affair, when, in a far-distant part
of the house, I heard a sound which thrilled me. I stopped all
motion and listened, my heart, however, trembling with the fear of a
disappointment. The music, for it was sweet music to me, came nearer,
and now I could not be mistaken. What joy filled my heart! How
impossible to forget that voice! I sat still and let it come. She
evidently knew where I was and was coming to find me, pouring forth
her heart in the way she knew I adored. Where now were my fears that my
heart was growing cold toward her? Could it be possible that I had ever
doubted my affection for her since I first heard her sing? Nearer it
comes, filling my ears now with its familiar melody, a song without
words but full of meaning for one who hears aright. She is guided true
by the lamp of love and is now in the next room. I cannot wait, but
interrupt her song with this cry:

“Come to me, my love, come quickly. I know your voice and the meaning of
your song, and my heart responds to yours.”

The strain continues, and soon a form appears in the doorway. I spring
from my seat and start to meet it, but fall back almost immediately in

“Oh, Avis,” I exclaimed with vexation, “I thought you were Mona again. I
supposed you were on the other side of the world.”

“I was, but I have come back to sing for you. I heard poor Mona had lost
her voice and I wanted to do what I could to fill her place. But I fear
you are not pleased with me.”

“My dear friend,” I replied, “I beg your pardon for the abrupt manner
in which I received you. I thought Mona had suddenly recovered her voice
and was coming in the fullness of her joy to tell me about it, and you
can imagine my disappointment when I discovered my mistake. But now I
assure you I am glad to have your sympathy and delighted to know that
you are to be near me. Please go on with the song which I so rudely
interrupted, and let me hear your voice as often as possible. It is
exceedingly fortunate for me to have you here while Mona is recovering.
Will you stay till she can sing again, or do you think it is too selfish
in me to make such a request?”

Instead of answering me, Avis began to sing again, and in a twinkling
I had forgotten my question and everything else in the enjoyment of the

I now wanted little to make me supremely happy. There was Mona herself,
with her exquisite beauty and friendly manner, and there was Mona’s
voice in the mouth of one who liked me enough to go half around the
world to entertain me. And, if the truth must be told, my heart inclined
more and more toward the voice. This was a startling truth indeed when
it first fell upon me, and I fully determined that no one else should
know it. Mona should never discover that I loved her less because she
could not sing, and Avis should never know that her marvelous song was
beginning to make the singer dear to me.

Whenever I found myself alone I could think of nothing but this
perplexing subject. As I dwelt upon my situation, I told myself I must
be careful, and avoid getting into trouble. Mona was becoming more and
more tender toward me every day, and now Avis had come, unconsciously
storming the seat of my affections with Mona’s own voice. I felt that I
was in some danger of embarrassing myself before the rest of my friends,
and it behooved me to simplify matters if possible.

First, I must find out to a certainty just how I stood with Mona.
Notwithstanding the admission which I had been forced to make to myself,
I felt that it must be right for me to continue to devote myself to
Mona, even if my heart did not bound toward her as in the days of my
exuberant love. I should indeed be unworthy of her to give her up now.
When I considered my former depth of feeling, I fairly despised myself
for entertaining for a moment the possibility of her becoming less dear
to me. But, for all that, I knew deep in my heart that the charm which
had held me to her was gone, and I knew of no way to arrest and bring
back my wandering affections.

Still, it could not be right for me to let her know I was changing. What
would she think of me, and what opinion would Thorwald and Zenith have?
I must own that the latter consideration had a good deal of force with
me, for I did not want to lower myself and our whole race in their eyes.

So I prepared the form of speech with which to address Mona again on the
old subject. It seemed strange that she should begin to grow fond of me
just as soon as my love began to cool, and I determined with all my will
never to let her know the state of my heart.

Not long after I had made this resolution, I was surprised to have
the doctor tell me he was sorry to see I was not so partial to Mona’s
society since she had lost her voice. I do not remember what I said to
him in reply, but I know his remark set me thinking hard. Perhaps other
observers had noticed the same thing and were too considerate of my
feelings to speak of it. Surely, I must have matters put upon a better
footing at once.

As for Mona, she was never happier in her life, if we could judge from
her actions. She had now learned to talk so well in her mute language
that we all found conversation with her comparatively easy. Her
fascinating manners made her interesting always, and in spite of her
great loss she was still an important part of the life of the house.
I argued to myself that my heart must be hard indeed if I could not
continue to love her. To me her behavior was characterized by such a
peculiar sweetness that I knew she was ready, on a word from me, to
recall some of the harsh things she had said and to own a love quite
different in kind from her regard for others.

The opportunity soon came to speak to her, and I embraced it. “Mona,” I
said, “I want to make a little speech to you. First, let me ask you if
I can introduce a subject on which you have more than once stopped my
mouth. Perhaps you know what I mean.”

“Oh, yes,” she replied, “I remember it very well, and you may talk all
you please about it now. You must forgive me if I was unkind before and
used my voice to vex you. But I am surprised to have you bring up this


“Because I thought from your manner that you did not love me as you used

By this time the speech that I had prepared was all out of my head,
and I was wondering if it were possible that I had lost so much of my
affection for Mona that she had discovered it by a change in my manner.
In reply to her remark I said:

“But such a thought has not made you unhappy, Mona, if I may judge from
your behavior. I have never seen you more cheerful and full of life.”

“No,” she responded, “I think it has had the contrary effect. I was
rather relieved to find you were recovering from your foolishness, and I
thought we would now be able to live in peace, treating each other in a
kind and sensible manner. I am disappointed to find that you are still
clinging to the old idea, but I will not object to your saying all you
please on the subject, for I have my own reasons now for being gracious
to you.”

“That’s the very thing I want to ask you about, Mona. I have noticed
your great kindness of late, and have supposed it came from the fact
that you were learning to love me in my way; that is, somewhat to the
exclusion of others. Isn’t it that?”

“I think you will not be pained when I say you have had a wrong

“Why do you think such a discovery will not pain me?”

“Because I am sure you do not care for me now in the same way as before.
It was my voice that inthralled you. In all this interview you have not
once said you love me, and you know at one time you could say nothing
else. But let me tell you why I have shown an extra tenderness toward
you recently. It was because I feared you would think I blamed you
for my misfortune. I wanted to let you know I had not the least unkind
feeling and that, in spite of the loss of my voice, I was as happy and
contented as ever.”

“Well, after all, you do love me a little, do you not, Mona?”

“Why, of course I do, just as much as ever. And now let us go right
along and be nice to each other. We will love each other and love
everybody else just the same, and you must promise not to look disturbed
any more when I am talking with Foedric; but you have been very good
about that of late.”

“I will promise,” I answered; “but what will you do if you find I am
loving another person more than you?”

“Oh, I cannot understand what you mean by loving more and loving less.
It is a strange idea to me, and I hope I shall never get accustomed to
it. My way is to love everybody with all my heart, and that’s an end of
it. Don’t you see in that way I escape all the worry and vexation which
you seem to have in the matter? As to your loving another, you will
pardon me if I say it will be a great relief to me for you to do so.
I have not been used to being the sole recipient of any person’s
affection, and I shall rejoice to be freed from the responsibility. If
you have thought me happy heretofore, you will now be astonished at my
sprightliness. I suppose you refer to Antonia. She is a lovely girl,

“Allow me,” I interrupted; but before I could go on with my denial that
voice again fell on my ears--so distant and low that I held my breath to
listen. At first Mona did not hear it, but it soon increased in volume;
and now, as the sweet sounds came pouring upon us, my companion saw how
I was affected, and said in her sign language:

“Oh, I was mistaken. Antonia is not the one.”

My heart was now all aflame, and, with Mona by my side and gazing into
my glowing face, I almost forgot her presence in the approach of one
whose song had such power. Was she old? Music like that is never old.
Why should not my heart go out to her? She was still beautiful and not
so old as I had supposed. And then, of course, people in that advanced
condition, did not wear out in a few years as they did on the earth. As
for her size, she was rather small for a Martian, and I, living under
new conditions, would certainly take a start before many days, and no
doubt become as large as Foedric, almost.

These ingenuous sentiments came to me with the sweet accents of that
melodious song, and when Avis appeared I had great difficulty to keep
from making some foolish exhibition of my feelings.

At my next sober moment, that is, when I was by myself, and out of
hearing of that intoxicating music, it was very easy for me to realize
my ridiculous situation, but not so easy to tell how I was to escape
from it. As to my relations with Mona herself, I was greatly relieved by
our last conversation. I certainly need no longer feel obliged to tie
my vagrant heart to her. She would not miss it if it never once showed
itself again, but how could I hope to preserve any sort of character in
the eyes of my other friends? What sport the doctor would make of me
if he knew how I felt toward Avis. He little thought that this was the
daughter of Mars most likely to bring me to my knees.

And the doctor would have good reason for whatever enjoyment he might
have at my expense, for I felt at first that I did not deserve any
sympathy. When away from the powerful influence of that voice I was
myself, and could see everything in its true perspective, but it is
difficult to describe the change that came over me as soon as those
entrancing notes fell upon my ear. The music sent great waves of emotion
through my being, the storm center generally appearing to be the seat of
my affections. My heart would beat fast, going out toward the singer
in sympathy and love. The doubts of propriety belonging to my sane
moments--hesitation, argument, uncertainty--all went in a flash, and I
was almost ready to throw myself before her and proclaim my love without
shame or embarrassment. At such times I felt that I could hold my head
up in view of all the inhabitants of Mars and prove to them that I was
not fickle, but as steadfast as constancy itself in following always one
and the same attraction. Was I not as true to the best that was in me,
when my heart was ravished by the voice of Avis, as I was when I had
loved Mona so tenderly for the same sweet charm?

As day followed day in this delightful home, it was the society of Avis
which I continually sought, and I was never quite happy except in her
presence, or, at least, within hearing distance of her voice. And it was
not long before the constant association of Avis with the music I
loved so well began, even when I was not listening to her, to draw my
affections toward one who, at will, could exert such power over me.

Mona was still herself, the same friendly, joyous creature as ever, but
the knowledge that I could never gain her undivided affection helped to
cure my infatuation. And now, with my heart free, why should I not love
Avis? The mere fact that she was an inhabitant of Mars proved that she
was far too good for me, but I could see by the example of Foedric and
Antonia that Avis would never, in consequence of her high development,
have any scruples against loving one person more than others.

When I had fully persuaded myself that I was perfectly consistent in my
present course, I became quite anxious to know what others would think
of me. But I was too much afraid of the doctor’s criticism to confide my
secret to him. I must try one of the Martians, whose high breeding and
true courtesy would not permit them to make light of one’s feelings on
so serious a subject.

So it was to Zenith that I went for sympathy. She had been more than
kind to me, and it is remarkable how easy and perfectly at home she made
me feel in her company.

“Zenith,” I began, “I want to consult you on a delicate subject, and
I will first ask you a rather abrupt question. Will you give us your
permission to take Avis back to the earth with us?”

A Martian never loses self-possession and is never at a loss what to say
to the most unexpected proposition.

“Well, that is abrupt,” Zenith quickly responded. “Do you know, Thorwald
and I were talking only this morning about your apparent fondness for
the society of Avis. Are you forgetting Mona?”

This was getting into the subject faster than I had intended, and I
determined to take my time, so I said:

“Zenith, this province must be the New England of Mars, by the way you
evade my question and ask another.”

“But you wouldn’t expect me to answer such a question offhand. You
see, it contains several new ideas. First, I didn’t know you thought of
returning to the earth. Then I am surprised that you should want to
take anybody with you. And, finally, I am more surprised that you should
choose Avis rather than Mona. Now that I have explained so fully, may I
not ask you again if this means that you are forgetting Mona?”

“Mona is not able to sing for me,” I said.

“And do your ideas of what is right allow you to become indifferent to
her as soon as she loses one of her attractions? Here her misfortune
would tend to make her only more dear to one who really loved her.”

To which I made haste to answer:

“I am proud to tell you, Zenith, that such sentiments prevail on the
earth, too, and I have been trying hard to hold them in my own breast.
But in living with you I am learning to be honest, and it would not be
right for me to deny that Mona’s chief charm for me is gone from her,
and is in the possession of another. The voice of Avis has the same
power over me that Mona’s formerly had, and shall I fight against my
growing fondness for Avis?”

“Is your race so little developed, then,” asked Zenith, “that your ears
are the only avenue to your hearts?”

Before I could answer, Mona herself came bounding into the room, and
Zenith continued:

“There’s the poor child now. How can you be so unkind to her?”

“Who’s unkind to me?” asked Mona in her sign language.

“Zenith thinks I am,” I answered.

“Why, you are mistaken, Zenith; he is just the opposite. We have always
loved each other, and I think more of him than ever since I lost my
voice, and he has ceased making serious speeches to me that I can’t
understand. I wish you could see how he enjoys hearing Avis sing.”

In this way Mona proved to Zenith that she was not heart-broken. I was
going to explain the matter myself, but was glad to have Mona take it
out of my hands.

The most difficult task yet remained. I must tell Avis how affairs
stood; and yet, was it the proper thing for me to do? I wondered how the
delicate subject of making love was handled in Mars, where the two sexes
were perfectly equal. Which one was to make the advances? The matter is
simple enough on the earth, where women are inferior and dependent. Of
course, they must smother their own feelings and wait to be discovered,
while the men can make their selection, and if they do not succeed at
first can simply try again. That is entirely proper, and everybody knows
just what to do; but here things are probably different. I don’t want to
make a failure in this case, as I did with Mona, not knowing the customs
of the moon-dwellers. Perhaps my best way will be to try a little
coquetry and pretend I do not care for her nor her singing. That may
draw her on to make some avowal to me.

I had gone so far in my deliberations, when I was interrupted by the
doctor, who called to ask if I did not want to go out with him. I
consented reluctantly, as I preferred to go on with my thinking till I
could come to some decision. But the doctor had a purpose in taking
me out, and, as soon as a good opportunity presented itself, he said,

“You find Avis a pretty good singer?”


“And good company?”

“Excellent company. Why?”

“Oh, nothing; only I thought you were neglecting another friend.”

“Why, Mona doesn’t care for me, and Avis does, or, at least, I think she

“Do you mean by this,” inquired the doctor, “that you have transferred
to Avis the personal interest you had in Mona?”

“Have you anything to say in disparagement of Avis?” I asked.

“Certainly not. I have a high respect for her. But there is one other
plain question I would like to ask you, in view of your rather erratic

“Well, what is it? I’m dying to know.”

“It is this. What are you going to do with Margaret?”

“Margaret? Oh, yes, I forgot about Margaret. That is something else I
have got to think over.”

That night, as I was falling asleep, the same sweet, familiar music came
to me from a distant part of the house. Half-thinking and half-dreaming,
I let my mind drift where it would. The sensation received through my
ears was so delicious and so satisfying that I wondered why I could
not rest in it entirely and not think of the singer; but that was
impossible. The notes penetrated from my brain down to the region of
my heart. I thought of Margaret, but Margaret could not sing like that.
Mona could not, now; no one but Avis. Oh, how I loved her for it! I
remembered how nice Margaret was, and how much I had once thought of
her; but as for loving her now, with this music of Mars in my ears, why,
I simply couldn’t try to do it. At last Margaret, Mona, Avis, all became
jumbled up in my chaotic mind, and I thought they were one superb woman,
and I loved her. The conceit was worthy the colossal selfishness of a
dreamer. The essence of three worlds was mine. The earth, the moon, and
Mars had all given me their best. And she could sing. The thought was
soothing. I was asleep.



The events related in the foregoing chapter were interesting to us all,
in one way and another, but the doctor and I felt that the real purpose
of our visit to Mars, if anything so unpremeditated could be said to
have a purpose, was to learn all we could of the planet, and especially
of its people. And as we did not know how soon our visit might be
brought to a close, we lost no time in urging Thorwald to continue his
instruction whenever he could find it convenient. Thorwald’s answer to
this was, that he hoped nothing would occur to hasten our departure, but
that it was his convenience to heed at any time our wishes, and he would
resume his talk as soon as we pleased. So it was not long before we were
seated, and Thorwald began again as follows:

“It is now my privilege to speak to you, my friends, of that part of
our history which differs from anything you have experienced, and I
anticipate much pleasure in doing so. I must say again that we have
found the parallel remarkably close between your career and ours up to
the time when you left the earth.”

“We have indeed,” remarked the doctor, “and that makes us all the
more anxious to learn what came to you next and how you escaped the
threatening storms.”

“There were certainly many clouds upon our horizon at that day,” resumed
Thorwald. “The people were full of unrest. The worst part wanted to
replace organized society with anarchy, but this extreme party never
succeeded in their purpose. The world had progressed too far for that.
There were too many churches and schools and printing presses. The
anarchists should have begun their efforts in a ruder age.

“There was more danger from the jealousies and mischievous tendencies
among the great industrial class, because their number was so large. But
even here the same influences which saved us from the nihilist had their
effect. As time went on, men came to think more, and the result of this
was that both conscience and reason began to govern men’s actions.

“The workmen had looked about them and had seen many corporations
increasing in wealth and power, and individuals rolling up enormous
fortunes, and they had felt that they were not getting a fair share of
the money their labor was earning. But then a little thought enabled
them to realize that these evidences of great prosperity came from the
successful few, while a large proportion of all business ventures were
failures; and in these the employees received more of the profits than
the owners did. Then the wage-earners had the benefit of much of
the money accumulated in large fortunes, by having the free use of
libraries, trade schools, reading rooms, and an increasing number of
philanthropic institutions, which were equipped and endowed by the rich.
Such a use of wealth became an ordinary thing, so that it was not a
matter of wonder and wide notice when a man spent a liberal share of his
fortune in educational or other humanitarian work.

“All this had a great effect on the mass of the people, gradually
raising the average of character, and placing before the mind a higher
incentive for right living. Ignorance had always been to the race a
twin enemy with sin, and the growth of intelligence meant the general
elevation of mankind.

“Another chief item in the reformation of men in that age of improvement
was the general abandonment of the drinking habit. You will understand,
of course, that the mainspring of all these reforms was the gospel of
Christ, under which man’s spiritual nature was gradually developing.
But, at the same time, there was always a secondary cause, and through
human instrumentality such blessings came to us. What do you suppose
brought about the overthrow of intemperance?”

“I suspect,” answered the doctor, with a glance at our hostess, “it was
the growing influence of woman, who, by that time, according to Zenith’s
account, ought to be taking quite a leading position.”

“Doctor,” said Thorwald, “you take in the situation completely. If
there was one thing woman had always been sure she could do, it was the
breaking up of the liquor traffic. In the old days, when she had been
treated as man’s inferior, she had declared that, if she had the power,
she would stamp out the manufacture and sale of intoxicating drinks, and
make it impossible for men to get them at any price. And when power came
to her I am glad to say she proved that her boast had not been in vain.
Not that she fulfilled her threat in any such dramatic way as she had
had in mind, but the end was accomplished just as surely by the force
of her high character, working itself out in many ways. It was chiefly a
crusade of education. The children of one generation after another were
taught the value of right habits and purity of body, and in time the
change was wrought, a victory for woman more precious to the race than
any army of mailed warriors had ever won.

“With temperance came better manners, more self-respect, a kinder
spirit, a more tender care for others, and, along with these things,
better hearts and better homes.”

As Thorwald had invited us to interrupt him as often as we pleased, I
took advantage of a pause here by saying:

“I see, Thorwald, you are making the people all too good to leave any
fear in the mind of a social convulsion, but I would like to ask how
politics were smoothed out. During that period of industrial war, which
you described to us, you said the workingmen and ignorant classes
found they were in the majority and were beginning to use their power
unjustly. We are threatened in a similar way on the earth at this time,
and I am anxious to know how the cloud in your sky was dispersed.”

“I will endeavor to make it plain to you,” replied Thorwald, “but you
must remember I am trying to condense the history of a great many
years into as few words as possible. It was found that there had been
a mistake in making the right of suffrage universal without universal
education, and that the ignorant and vicious were so numerous as to make
the average unsafe to rely upon in a crisis. It was a difficult matter
to remedy this state of things. Some attempts were made from time to
time to confine the privilege of citizenship to the intelligent part of
the community, but many of the best people thought this was taking the
wrong course, and that the only safe cure was in educating all classes
up to a full appreciation of their higher duties. There was a growing
faith, the world over, in the virtue of the people at large, and
wherever they had been given full power to govern themselves, or had
taken it from their former rulers, they were exceedingly jealous of any
abridgment of this power.

“Here, again, we see the effects of the beneficent influence of woman.
The more her dominion increased the more was intelligence diffused, and
although she yielded to the subtle temptation of power and reigned alone
for a while, yet the world had, on the whole, great cause to be thankful
for her signal advancement. With education made compulsory, and with
society brought gradually under the sway of woman’s finer nature and
more lofty ideals, communities were molded to a higher form of life, and
saved from the evils which threatened them in their former state.

“Let me tell you briefly how war was banished from our world, that
monster whose hideous presence would be so utterly out of place here
now. At the beginning of the age I am describing, the foremost nations
kept powerful armies and navies, all ready for their deadly work. Wars
were frequent and bloody. The best of the young men in nearly every land
were forced to bear arms and fight for their country at the command of
their rulers, while the conscience of mankind was dulled and stunted by
the spectacle or constant menace of war.

“The lives of millions of men were actually in the hands of a few
irresponsible autocrats, who were possessed with exaggerated or false
notions of national honor. Now came a time when the world stood hushed,
as it were, on the eve of a mighty conflict. Every nation had increased
its army and strengthened its defenses to the utmost limit. Every day
threatened to see the match lighted--a hasty word, a fancied insult, any
trivial thing, which would bring on the struggle and put the world in
mourning. And what was it all for? No one could tell. It seemed to be
nothing but the selfish ambition of the rulers and their innate love
for supremacy. As for the real actors, those who were to do the actual
fighting, they had no love for their work. However it may have been in
the past, the world was older now and better, and war was abhorred with
all its accompaniments both by the army and by the people at large.

“It was a time of great inventions, looking not only to the saving of
life but to its destruction. Even while the nations were standing, arms
in hand, waiting for the signal to begin the conflict, their weapons
were rendered useless and the strength of their fortresses reduced to
nothing by the working of one man’s brain. Yes, by a single invention,
inspired by God for the good of his creation, inhuman war received its
death-blow and the world obtained a mighty impulse toward its final

The doctor became somewhat excited by these words and asked with

“What wonderful invention was that?”

“The perfection of the air ship,” Thorwald replied, “by which any
required weight could be taken into the air, and carried with ease and
certainty by currents of air or force of gravity.

“You no doubt see what such an invention implies. It means that powerful
explosives could be dropped from the sky in quantities sufficient to
annihilate an army or utterly destroy a city. Experiments were made,
and engineers learned, with surprising rapidity, to cast the bombs with
great accuracy from any desired height.

“At once every government hastened to build air ships and manufacture
explosives. There seemed to be no limit in sight to the production of
either, and soon power enough was stored in this way to extinguish
half the life of the world, when rightly applied. The entire system of
warfare was revolutionized; but, while all were preparing for offensive
operations, there appeared to be no adequate plan of defense under the
new system. It therefore became apparent that, should the threatening
cloud burst, it would be difficult to imagine the extent of the
destruction it would bring. This feeling, which filled all hearts with
dread, delayed the catastrophe, for no one was ready to assume such an
immense responsibility. So matters stood for a long time, the fear
of the dire consequences preventing an outbreak, while the sentiment
against war was rapidly growing. In nations of the highest civilization,
where the Christian character of the people was reflected in the
government, some serious disputes had been settled by arbitration, and
every time this humane method was adopted a precedent was created which
made war appear more and more useless and barbarous. The world was now
becoming so much changed that such a good example was contagious, and
the result was that the aerial warships and the deadly dynamite did not
have to be used.

“Among the legends of the time is the improbable one that, when these
air fleets were at their highest point of efficiency, and the world
was literally lying at their mercy, one hot-headed young monarch, whose
selfish pride had stolen away his senses, gave the command to fire
the train which would ram destruction upon his foes, when, wonder of
wonders, not a man would obey his order. Angered beyond measure by
such an unwonted experience, he seized with his own hand the electric
apparatus arranged to give the fatal spark, but with such violence
and indiscretion that, instead of sending the current on its appointed
mission, it turned from its course and destroyed the angry youth

“This is undoubtedly a myth, but the rest that I have told you is
well-authenticated history.

“The abolition of war seems sudden, but it never would have taken place
as it did had not the people been prepared for it by a radical change in
their character. For many years the spirit of peace had been quietly at
work on the heart of mankind, until it came to be realized that warfare
and strife, whether between individuals or nations, were bound to die
away under the growing appreciation for the higher law.

“It was one of the supreme days in the history of Mars, when grim war
passed and became but a memory. The effect was instantaneous. At once
the people of the different nations were drawn together to their mutual
advantage. Commerce became world-wide, one language was adopted, and the
arts of peace flourished as never before. Men began to feel that they
were one family, national distinctions were made little of, and the
world drifted gradually toward universal brotherhood.

“I must now draw your attention to the work of the church and show you
how it was carrying out its great commission. First, to prepare for
the highest usefulness, it quite early freed itself from the sectarian
spirit. As the magnitude of its mission became more apparent the points
of difference between the denominations grew constantly smaller, and, in
time, all Christians found themselves united on the fundamental truths
of the gospel, and working together to bring the world to the light.
With this union fully accomplished, Christianity became more than ever
the dominant force in the world, and the church the chief center of all
work looking to the elevation of the race.

“The progress of the world was along the line of the brotherhood of
man, and that doctrine was the church’s own Christianity taught the true
socialism, which, however, could not be realized till the heart had lost
its selfishness, and each one had learned to care for the interests of
his neighbor. Although such a condition was not in sight at that day,
there was a mighty awakening which set the current of men’s thoughts and
desires strongly in the right direction.”

“Do you call yourselves socialists now?” asked the doctor.

“No,” answered Thorwald, “but you can call us so, if you please. It is
a good word, but our condition is much more perfect, since the coming of
the kingdom of God in every heart, than any dream of socialism, in the
olden time, ever contemplated.

“I was speaking of the increasing power of religion. Where the church
had been weak and dependent on a few half-earnest, timid believers,
it was now strong and active, and supported by all the self-respecting
portion of society. Instead of being forced to beg for its meager
subsistence, it now received in abundance the money that was poured out
voluntarily. Men did not wait for death, but gave their fortunes away
during their lives, and enjoyed the blessing which followed. The church
went down to the people, and in so doing lifted them up to itself.
It showed them how to make much of life, gave them instruction and
recreation and social enjoyment, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and
visited those in trouble. It strengthened family and neighborhood ties,
encouraged peace and good-fellowship, and taught men to love each other
as a preparation for loving God.

“A local church of that day was not a feeble body of men and women, with
an overworked and underpaid man at their head, who was expected to do
all the varied work required, except what he could get done by a small
number of his members, themselves worn out with the labor and business
of life. No, I will acquaint you with a then modern church. It was an
institution rich in resources and men, male and female, reaching out
into the community in every direction, helping the people in every
imaginable way to live as well as preparing them to die, a beauty and a
joy to all. It appealed to every side of man’s nature, first supplying
physical wants, not by indiscriminate largess of money, but by teaching
sobriety, industry, and thrift as virtues necessary to a rounded
character. Such teaching was not confined to pulpit precepts, but there
was no lack of good souls who took delight in going into the homes of
the people and showing them by example the best ways of living, and how
to make even the homeliest duties a loving and beautiful service.
To provide further for the needs of the body, there were gymnasiums,
bath-houses, swimming schools, playgrounds, riding schools, and the

“More numerous still were the means offered to meet the intellectual
and social desires--club-houses, lecture halls, conservatories,
museums, picture galleries, libraries, reading rooms, observatories,
kindergartens, manual training and trade schools, besides games and
sports, spectacular and dramatic exhibitions of a high order, and
many other things, designed to compete with attractions of a debasing

“Then, rising high over all, both in outward form and inward grace,
was the church edifice itself, set apart and strictly preserved for its
sacred purpose. In the noble lines of its architecture, in the beauty
of its artistic adornment, and in the character of its service,
intellectual and musical, it represented the highest culture of the age.
The structure included under its roof accommodations for the various
departments of religious work, and its doors were always open, inviting
every passer-by to enter and seek for spiritual refreshment.

“Imagine, if you can, an institution employing all these agencies, every
one of them fully equipped and manned, and with streams of money flowing
in to their support; no barren appeals from the pulpit for funds to pay
expenses, and no auctioneer’s hammer profaning the sacred aisles.

“This was the church of the period. Can you wonder that God’s rich
blessing was on such work and that his kingdom made rapid progress?
There was an ever-increasing number of God’s ministers, men and women,
imbued with Christ’s own spirit, working in all these various activities
to elevate and save their kind.

“In the life of the people there was nothing in all the world that so
surrounded them as the church. They could not escape from its influence.
It touched them from one side or from another, calling upon them, by
every manner of appeal, to lead less sordid lives, and seek the highest
good. Whereas in the olden time they seemed to be set in the midst of
evil influences, which imperceptibly molded their characters and too
often wrecked their lives, their condition was so changed that their
environment was now a help and not a hindrance, and so the gospel found
easy entrance to their hearts and lives.

“This much the church had done by giving its money and itself, with
new-born zeal, to the work of the Master. And from this time you may be
sure its victories were rapid and notable.

“While this great change in society had been going on among nominal
Christian people, hand in hand had gone the work of the gospel in
heathen lands. The faster the money was poured out for the church
at home, the more plentifully it was offered for the foreign field.
Sometimes it was feared there would be more money than men and women for
the work. Then the laborers would come forward in such numbers that the
money would be exhausted, which, however, gave no concern, for it was
sure to come again as soon as needed. Where one missionary, in the
former days, had had the courage to take up the work, now thousands
sprang forward and with eager hearts went into the field.

“Going to the heathen in the same spirit of brotherly love and
helpfulness which had been so successful at home, the church was almost
overwhelmed with the happy results. One people after another threw away
their idols, and became followers of the gentle Savior, whose disciples
showed so much of his spirit. In every part of the world the gospel
was gaining fast over superstition and ignorance. In Christian lands no
other news was so sought after by all as the reports of the progress of
the cross, at home and abroad. Enthusiasm is a small word with which to
describe the burst of genuine interest in this great cause. Nor was it
a transient show of feeling, but so steady and constant that there was
never any doubt of its enduring till the final victory was won.

“Where now were the dangers that threatened society? What had become
of the labor troubles, the schemes of the anarchists, the menace of the
unemployed, the risk of a plutocracy, and all the evils that darkened
the sky of that former day? How far away, how trivial these things
seemed, now that they had passed, and men were learning to dwell
together in peace.”



Thorwald paused again, and the doctor felt moved to say:

“Your sketch has been richly enjoyed, Thorwald, and if it can be taken
as prophetic, in any sense, of what is to come to pass on the earth, we
are to see some happy days indeed. But a question has arisen in my mind
which I would like to ask you. When you broke off your former narrative,
things were in a pretty serious state among your ancestors. You have now
told us in a general way that there was a great change for the better,
and that every thing and every body improved until the time came when it
was easier to be good than not. I accept the fact, but do not understand
the practical operation of the causes that led to such a result. For
instance, I would like to know how that industrial strife came to an
end. The parties to it seemed to be full of bitter enmity and far enough
from ever loving one another. You have perhaps answered my question
already, and my stupidity has prevented me from grasping your meaning.”

“Let me first ask you a question,” said Thorwald. “I have inferred,
from some words you have let fall from time to time, that your mind has
changed somewhat. Will you admit that whatever advance this world has
made has come through the teachings of Christ?”

“It would be rather presumptuous in me,” answered the doctor, “to think
of denying anything to which you hold so firmly. More than that, in
the light of what I have seen and heard here, my own views, so rashly
expressed in the first days of our acquaintance, seem to me out of
place. They were formed without sufficient study of the subject, and I
am free to tell you that I now believe the same influence to which you
attribute your growth is the strength and growth of our race also.”

“Your words give me great pleasure,” Thorwald resumed, “for now I know
I have your full sympathy. The troubles to which you refer, and all the
clouds of that period, were dispersed by the growth of the spirit of
love in the world. Does that seem a vague and insufficient answer to
your question? Does the cause appear inadequate to the effect? Perhaps
I should have warned you not to expect any new or startling method
of removing these evils. The world was not in need of any nostrum for
curing sin, nor of any new scheme of the visionary for teaching men how
to find peace and happiness.

“No, the old gospel was sufficient. The power was already at work which
was to regenerate the world and, in time, to do away with all kinds of
oppression and injustice. The gospel did not spend its force so much
in attacking special forms of evil. It struck at the foundation of our
sinful nature, and, by long and patient effort, won a firm place in our
hearts. Then the whole structure of evil passions and low desires fell,
and our race began to build, on this new and safe foundation, more
beautiful and enduring mansions.

“If we were to be the children of God, it was necessary for us to be
like him, to deny ourselves, and to love our enemies. So, with that
spirit growing in our hearts, what place was there for greed and anger
and strife between man and man?

“One secret of the new power put forth by the church is to be found in
the union of all good men and women in its support. Before that period
many people of character had stood aloof, giving little thought to
religion for themselves, and less still to its influence on the world
at large. Some of them were out-and-out unbelievers, but, for the most
part, they were careless livers, too much engrossed in the affairs of
this world to feel any anxiety about the world to come.

“But now, in the march of events, the time came when the lines must be
sharply drawn between the good and evil forces. Iniquity presented
such a bold front, and all the foes of order and decency became so
threatening, that the moral forces of society had to combine for mutual
protection. The church, being the conservator of morals as of religion,
was the only rallying point for these forces, and felt at once the
impulse of new life. Thus, society, in the hour of its extremity, found
the true source of its salvation, and from that day its progress toward
a higher state began, a progress which has never yet been stayed.

“Let me urge you, Doctor, to learn a lesson from our history. You
acknowledge that, if the earth is to be saved from the evils which
threaten its peace, it must be through the gospel. If, therefore, you
and others like you wish to help speed the earth in its upward path,
you must obey and work for that gospel. To do good to your fellowmen
and assist in the regeneration of the world is only one motive for doing
this, but it will, I am sure, lead you to that other motive, a desire to
please your God. Every consideration calls you to leave your doubts and
negations, your neglect and indifference, and join with all the strength
of your character in a united effort to free the earth from some of its
sin. When this is done, when all the good forces cease their strife and
their cold neutrality and come together under the banner of love, you
will see a mighty change. Then will the earth grow bright with hope and
begin to realize something of the nature of its high destiny.

“Let me continue to describe the effect of such warm-hearted, combined
labor among us, and the result on our planet of the great spiritual
awakening to which I have referred.

“As men took note of the vast improvement going on around them, for
every department of life felt the quickening of the new zeal, they
became more and more eager in the overthrow of evil. And they had
learned thoroughly the great truth that the way to regenerate the
world was for everyone to build up his own character in truth and
righteousness. Noble lives, devoted to lofty aims, were the natural
result of the change, and our race, emerging from such a state of
imperfection as I have tried to outline, began to realize with joy that
they were living in a new world.

“I wish I could describe to you in fitting words the wonderful nature of
this advancement. All the pride and selfishness, so common to all hearts
in our degenerate days, were now driven out and replaced by the spirit
of self-denial. Love, the living principle in the gospel, had conquered
all its foes and was now enthroned in every heart.

“Do not suppose all this came about in one generation. It is only by
comparing one period with another that we are able to see such marked
progress. Our development toward the higher life has always been step by
step, and sometimes so slow that the people actually living, and in whom
the change was taking place, were not aware of any growth.

“But there have been special periods in our history when, after long
years of preparation, the race has come to a sudden appreciation of a
higher and better condition. The most glorious epoch of this kind came
at the close of the period I have just been describing.

“Perhaps you have seen some rare plant, having come to its maturity
through a process so slow as to bring discouragement, often, to
those who are cultivating it, now suddenly burst into bloom with such
magnificence that the disappointments of the past are all forgotten in
the enjoyment of its beauty.

“So broke that blessed day upon Mars. None so fair had ever dawned
before, and none less fair have we ever seen since.

“While this spiritual awakening was taking place, there had been rapid
progress, also, in our material development. The evils that formerly
vexed our bodies having disappeared, we were now free from sin and
sorrow alike, and so were prepared to enter upon duties relating to our
higher condition.

“All nature rejoiced with us, for the world itself was filled with the
joy and beauty which came from the knowledge of the Lord. Peace reigned
in the animal creation, and such gladness abounded everywhere that it is
hardly an exaggeration to say that the mountains and hills broke forth
into singing, and all the trees of the field clapped their hands.”

As Thorwald uttered these closing words, so beautiful and familiar, I
was so impressed with their appropriateness to his narrative that I
did not stop to wonder where he had obtained them, but inquired with

“And is it true, Thorwald, that instead of the thorn there came up the
fir-tree, and instead of the brier there came up the myrtle-tree?”

“That describes the situation admirably,” he answered, “and it is
literally true.”

“Why should that be so?” I asked.

“Because, when sin was banished from our world, it dragged in its train
every evil thing and left all bright and joyous behind it. Even the
unconscious soil was so improved in character that, whereas in the
former time it had brought forth by nature the thorn and brier and
noxious weed, there now sprang up spontaneously all manner of healthful
plants and fruits.”

“But,” said I, “we do not attribute moral excellence to the ground that
produces our food. How could the absence of sin make it any better?”

“Like everything else,” replied Thorwald, “it reflected the spiritual
condition of our race. By long and patient cultivation, by a constant
use of good seed, and by a persistent fight against every tendency to
evil growth, men had so changed the nature of the soil that it yielded
only that which was good. Even if left without care the ground did not
deteriorate, but the products took on the character of the times and
gradually improved. To such a degree had our once sinful world been

“The disagreeable features in nature’s laboratory were lost to every
sense, while everything that was beautiful in sight or sound, or that
was pleasant to the taste, now possessed an added charm. The birds
sang in more joyous notes, the flowers glowed in brighter hue, and all
created things burst forth in a song of praise to their Maker.”

“Is it possible,” I asked, “that the growth of love in the heart will
so transform a world and make even inanimate things more beautiful? The
earth is full of selfishness and I fear will be so for a long time, and
yet we think we have a few things that are perfect. I cannot conceive,
for instance, how anything could ever grow, sin or no sin, that would
surpass in beauty one of our finest roses.”

To which Thorwald replied:

“Is this not of value to you, to learn that the roses of the future are
entirely beyond your conception? Let me assure you that, with each new
advance in your progress toward a higher condition, there will unfold
within you new powers of appreciation for the increasing beauties in
nature, and new desires for spiritual perfections which are now too high
for your mind to grasp. Is it not a pleasure to know that there are many
things in reserve for the earth of whose character and perfections you
cannot conceive?”

“It surely is,” I replied, “and we shall never cease to thank you for
this hour’s talk. But now let me ask if you were not really in heaven
when you reached such a happy state. With both man and nature redeemed
from sin, with the tears wiped away from all eyes, with all griefs
assuaged and sickness and sorrow forgotten, and with love supreme in the
heart, what more was needed to make a heaven? Many of our generation on
the earth believe that the earth itself will be our heaven, when sin has
been driven out and peace and joy abound.”

“Oh, no, not heaven,” answered Thorwald. “The earth will be better in a
thousand years than it is now, much better in ten thousand years, but it
will never be heaven.”

“But why?” I persisted. “We cannot understand how there could be any
more blessed place than the earth would be if it should ever reach the
condition which you have pictured to us as existing here.”

“You have just stated the trouble,” Thorwald replied.

“You cannot understand. With your present capacities you think a state
such as I have described would be perfection; but you--I mean, of
course, your race--will come in time to see imperfections even in such
a life, and will, with increasing spiritual vision, see still higher
things to strive for. Let me urge you to keep your hearts attuned to the
heavenly music and your minds open to divine influences.”

Here Thorwald was about to leave us, as we remained in quiet thought
after his solemn and impressive words. But I kept him a moment to ask
if they had solved all the mysteries of God’s moral government. “By no
means,” he replied. “There are still many things unexplained in God’s
dealings with us, and we think this is well. Life would lose much of its
value if the time should come when there would be nothing to learn.
We know much of God’s character, but are not acquainted with its full
depths, and whenever we see or experience anything mysterious in his
providences we are content to wait for a fuller revelation of truth in
the future.

“We shall see the time when all our questions will be answered--that is,
in the world to come--and, in the mean time, we try to strengthen our
high and beautiful conception of God’s character by referring everything
we do not understand to his loving and gracious qualities, which we know
so well.”



That night, when the doctor and I were alone, I said to him:

“Well, doctor, what do you think of it all?”

“It would take me a long time,” he replied, “to tell what I think. I
confess I am beginning to imbibe a little of the spirit of this place.
I have spent my life in the pursuit of material facts, which we supposed
were the only substantial and valuable things in life Now I find myself
thinking lightly of such matters, with my mind held in the grasp of far
different thoughts. I realize now something of the substance and reality
of unseen things, and believe that man has a spiritual side to
his nature, which must be developed if he is to fulfill the high
expectations of our friends in this world. Taught by Thorwald’s words
and by all I have seen here, I have come to that point where I can say
I am losing my doubts and acquiring a love for things which formerly
did not exist for me. If we ever return to the earth we shall find
occupation enough for the rest of our lives in teaching the lessons we
have learned here.”

“Yes,” I said, “if we ever return. But doesn’t that seem impossible?”

“It certainly is difficult to imagine how it can be accomplished, but
going home ought not to be any more impossible than our coming here.
Perhaps we had better bestir ourselves, for Mars is now getting farther
away from the earth every day. Thorwald says the two planets were nearer
each other at the recent opposition than ever before since their records
began, and this is probably what drew our moon here, so fortunately for
us. For the return trip we might get these generous people to loan us
Demios or Phobos.”

“What are they?”

“Why, don’t you know? They are the little satellites of Mars, named
after the favorite horses of the war god.”

“But seriously now,” I asked, “how are we to get home?”

“Well, seriously, I don’t know,” the doctor answered. “Some accident may
happen to send us away from here in a hurry.”

“You know this is not the right world for accidents,” I said.

“I am not able to see,” he replied, “how they can be sure that they are
entirely free from accidents. They have been so long without them that
it seems to me it would not be strange if a big one should come almost
any day. One must be due, as we say.”

In the morning Thorwald met us with a pleasant greeting, as usual, and
then said:

“I have been surprised that you have not shown more curiosity on one
subject of vast importance to us. You have not once asked to see our

“We have talked of it by ourselves,” said the doctor, “but we have been
too much engrossed in studying your history and customs to think much of
a topic so far above our comprehension as the comet. Your civilization
is much higher than we can appreciate, and I am sure we should make
small progress in attempting to investigate a development that is so
much beyond yours.”

“Your excuse,” returned Thorwald, “is as complimentary as it is
ingenious. But should you not like to see an object which possesses so
much interest for us?”

“Certainly,” the doctor made haste to reply; “and just as soon as you
choose to take us. You told us it was at the door of a large city. Is it
far from here?”

“Yes,” Thorwald answered, “a long way in miles, but not far in minutes
if we go by the tubular route. But if it is agreeable to you, suppose we
take the air line and make a leisurely excursion of it.”

We both assured him that we were delighted with the prospect, and I
suggested that Zenith and the children should accompany us.

“Yes,” said Thorwald, “and in anticipation of your consent to go on the
expedition, I invited some other friends of yours last night to share
the pleasure with us. And here they are now,” he continued, rising and
stepping to the door.

The doctor and I hurried forward, and were heartily greeted by Proctor,
the astronomer, and Foedric of the red voice. The latter was accompanied
by a comely-looking ape, which had been trained to act as his body
servant. The animal was intelligent, and quick to understand every word
addressed to him, but quiet and respectful in demeanor, and, to all
appearance, as well fitted to fill the station he occupied as the
servants we had been accustomed to seeing on the earth.

Zenith explained to us that in many households the ape and other
creatures were employed for light services, and were exceedingly useful.
But as for their own house, she said the work that could not be done by
mechanical means she preferred to do herself, assisted by her children.
It was much better that every child should have some stated work to do.

It was not long before we were all on our way to the aerial station,
where we selected a commodious air ship, managed by one of Foedric’s

When we were seated comfortably and were enjoying once more the
exquisite sensation of sailing so easily through that balmy air,
Thorwald said to the doctor and me:

“We all anticipate a great deal of pleasure in showing you our big
natural curiosity and what it contains. We want to see your surprise
when you look upon its vast proportions, and your growing curiosity as
you try to make out some of its mysteries. Things which baffle our skill
may be plain to you, and perhaps you will even be able to do something
with that puzzling language.”

“Yes,” said the doctor, “if it is beyond your skill we shall no doubt be
able to read it at sight.”

“Well, at any rate,” continued Thorwald, “we shall enjoy the novel
experience of exhibiting the marvel of our whole world to those who
were, until so recently, entirely ignorant of its existence.”

“I hope,” I said, “that our behavior will not be such as to disappoint
you, when we are brought face to face with the object for which you have
so deep a sentiment.

“But, Thorwald, the doctor and I have been talking about going home. Not
that we are tiring of your society, but we are filled with a desire to
tell the people of the earth what we have found on Mars and try to teach
them some of the good lessons you have given us. The doctor, who has a
monopoly of the scientific culture in our party, can see no prospect of
our getting away from your planet. With your more advanced science, can
you suggest any way by which we can take a dignified leave of you?”

“We should regret exceedingly,” replied Thorwald, “to lose you just as
we are becoming well acquainted, but I have no criticism to make on the
excuse you offer for wanting to revisit your home. I must say, however,
that you present to us too hard a problem to solve. With all our
attainments in astronomy and in the navigation of the air, you went one
point beyond us when you took passage from the earth to Mars, for we
have no means by which to express passengers from one planet to another.

“We consider the circumstances of your leaving the earth and your
journey hither the most remarkable thing of the kind ever heard of, and
we have nothing in our experience on which we can begin to build any
scheme for sending you off on so long a flight through space. If you
will only be content to stay here till we have progressed further with
our investigations of the high civilization brought to light in our
comet, perhaps we can help you. The remarkable people whose exalted
condition is there represented may have had powers in this direction
of which we cannot conceive. The subject will add even more zest to our

“Why do you desire to leave us so soon? You have seen but few of our
notable improvements, and learned comparatively little of the practical
workings of our high civilization. And then I have been hoping the
doctor would come fully into our belief before he went away.”

“If you could hear what he has told me,” I said, “you would see that
he is already fit to be sent as a foreign missionary from this blessed
world to the struggling earth.”

“Good!” cried Thorwald. “I am delighted to hear it. If anything could
reconcile us to the loss of your society, it is the knowledge that you
will both he glad messengers of hope to your promising race. I rejoice
that I have had a share in the work of preparing you for your mission.

“And now, suppose we all humor your conceit and give you our parting
words, as if the ship were at hand which was to sail the mighty void,
and bear you safely to your distant home.

“Come, wife, friends, the day is young and the air delightful. There is
nothing to hasten us on our way. Let us ride leisurely along and take a
little time to speed these earth-dwellers on their prospective journey
with a few words of cheer.

“Foedric, what advice have you to offer them before they take their
leave of us?”

Foedric was modest, as we had learned before, but he entered into
Thorwald’s plan with evident pleasure, and said, addressing the doctor
and me:

“My friends from foreign skies, you do not need advice from me after you
have been so long with Thorwald and Zenith, but I will send a message to
your unfortunate fellow beings who have never had the pleasure of their
acquaintance. When you have related your experiences and told them the
condition in which you have found us, ask them to call us no longer
Mars, but Pax, the world of peace. Our planet is red, but not with
war. Its red is rather the blush of the dawn that ushers in the day of
universal love. My word to men is to expect the advent of that day, and,
expecting, to prepare for it. Useless, cruel, inhuman war must cease,
with all strife and hatred and envy and bitter feeling; and then shall
you begin to see the full measure of beauty in the song of the angels of
which you have told us, and ‘Peace on earth’ will be a blessed fact and
not a prophecy. Thorwald, I have finished.”

“You have spoken well, Foedric,” said Thorwald. “And now, what wise
counsel will you give, Proctor?”

“From what I have learned in regard to the people of the earth,” replied
Proctor, “it seems to me they will be obliged to have a great deal of
war there yet--war against a world of evils, which must be driven out
with a strong hand before they can have peace. When each individual has
subdued his own spirit, then there will be no more war, and no other
enemies to conquer.”

“Study the majesty and power of God as exhibited nightly in the starry
sky, and learn to revere a being who holds in his hands a million
worlds, and not only guides their movements but directs with a heart of
love the minutest affairs of all their inhabitants. Look over the broad
field of creation, and think of the earth, grand and beautiful as it
is, as only one among the vast number of peopled orbs, all swinging in
unison, parts of one plan, every one in its day sending forth a song of
praise to its maker. So shall your hearts expand and burst the narrow
bounds of selfish desire and trivial occupation, and you will begin to
grow into the full stature of the sons of God.”

Proctor spoke with such feeling that the doctor and I now began to think
that these people must be in earnest and were really preparing to send
us home in some way, but the latter idea was, as will speedily be seen,
an unjust suspicion.

“Zenith,” said Thorwald, “will you take your turn, after Proctor’s
inspiring words?”

“If we were in truth making our farewells to these friends,” replied
Zenith, “I should feel more sadness than I am conscious of now.

“My message, O men, shall be a plea for purity. If you would seek to
make your world the better for your visit here, teach men everywhere to
be pure, a hard lesson to learn, but one that will bring a rich reward.
First make the fountain sweet. Be pure in heart, and then your lives,
and even your thoughts, will be pure. When you can fully obey the
command, ‘Think no evil,’ you will need no other commandment to keep
your lives unspotted. Such a requirement no doubt seems too difficult
for you now, but the earth must come to its maturity by following the
same high ideal which has ever been set before us. There is one law
for all worlds, an infinitely pure and holy God commands us all to be
perfect even as he is perfect, although to that perfection nor earth nor
Mars, nor, perhaps, any other world, has yet attained.”

“But, Thorwald, I fear you will not have time to give your farewell
words before our friends depart.”

“I shall not require much time,” replied Thorwald, “but I should not
like to lose the opportunity of adding something to what has already
been said. I think we have been wise in having this talk, for those who
could take advantage of such a novel way of coming to us may discover
some means of going home again before we suspect it.”

Then, turning to us, Thorwald continued:

“Go back to the earth, my brothers, and tell men to despair not in their
conflict with evil; for God reigns, therefore the good will triumph.
Tell them you found a race of happy beings here, not perfect, but aiming
toward perfection, having escaped many of the perils that belong to an
earlier stage of existence. The earth, too, will one day be old. Will it
be happy then? Your generation can help to make it so. With our history
to guide us, and with the knowledge you have given us of the earth’s
present condition, we have high hopes of your race, and I venture the
prediction that your world will see, in the near future, such an advance
as you have never dreamed of. The era of a united effort to overthrow
the evil forces is approaching, when all will press with eager, sincere
hearts into the work, when money will be poured out like water, when men
will begin to lose their selfishness and take each other by the hand as
brothers, and when the dark places of the earth will grow bright with
the light of the gospel.

“I do not wonder you want to get back there. I hope I should have the
same desire if I were in your place. What a time in which to live, with
so much good work to do, and such encouragement and sure reward!”

Thorwald’s enthusiasm made him eloquent, and we all regarded him
intently as he spoke. How well I remember that group of persons:
Proctor, the devout astronomer; the stalwart and earnest Foedric;
Zenith, the queen of all womanly graces; and Thorwald himself, our
friend and brother, the rich fruit of an advanced development.

My companion and I were deeply impressed with the words we had heard,
and could hardly realize that these friends were not aware that our life
in Mars was nearly over, their farewells were so genuine.

But, hark! Thorwald is still speaking:

“Go back to the earth, I say, and--” a crash, a sensation of falling, a
dull pain in my head, a new voice at my ear, saying,

“Why, Walter, are you hurt?”

During the effort to recover full consciousness I said:

“There, Doctor, the accident you expected has certainly come.”

And then I opened my eyes and discovered that I was sitting in an
undignified position on the deck of a vessel of some kind.

Again the voice, now more familiar and identified with a lovely face,

“You must have had that broken chair; I knew it would let you down some
time. Don’t you know me, Walter?”

“Why, yes, it’s you, Margaret, isn’t it? But where’s the doctor?”

“Oh, how are you hurt?” cried Margaret in alarm. “Tell me, and I will
run for the doctor at once.”

This conversation had all passed in a moment, and by the time it was
finished I had extricated myself from the broken chair with Margaret’s
assistance, and was now wide awake. I had never expected to leave Mars
without the doctor; but now he was gone with all the rest, and I was
well content to find myself back by Margaret’s side, and to hear her
pleasant words, the words of a plain inhabitant of the earth, not too
good to love me a little selfishly. A wave of intense happiness in the
possession of such a love passed over me. It was a feeling I had never
before experienced in my waking moments and it must have illumined my
face, for Margaret continued:

“I don’t believe you are hurt at all. You look too happy to be in pain.
What have you been dreaming about, that makes your face shine so? How
thankful I am for this bright moonlight. I never saw you have so much
expression before.”

“Margaret,” I replied, as soon as she would let me speak, “don’t you
remember you sent me on a quest for my heart? Well, I have found it and
brought it back to you.”

“How lovely to find it so soon,” she exclaimed; “and I know by your
looks it’s a large one and full of love. But tell me about it. How did
it happen?”

“Why, I fell in love with a voice.”

“With a voice? Whose voice?”

“Well, it didn’t seem to matter much. First it belonged to Mona and then
to Avis, and part of the time to both of them.”

“You make me jealous,” said Margaret.

We were now standing, hand in hand, leaning on the rail of the vessel,
in the full enjoyment of our new-found happiness.

“You will not be jealous,” I answered, “when you know all about it. I
have enough to tell you, Margaret, to occupy a week, I should think.
I have seen and heard a great deal, and seemed to be living amid other
scenes for many months, and yet I notice the moon is but two or three
hours higher than when you left me there in the chair to go and find
your book. I shall take great pleasure in relating to you the entire
experience when we have time. Perhaps I will write it out for you. I
have been stirred as I never expected to be, but I assure you I have
brought back my whole heart to you. Only,” I added, as a sudden flash of
memory startled me with its vividness, “I should like to hear that voice
once more.”

“Ah,” said my companion, “why do you think of that so much? I fear you
are not quite heart whole. What was there peculiar about the voice?”

“Margaret, it was the most exquisite music anyone ever dreamed of. I
cannot describe my emotions or the intensity of my enjoyment whenever I
heard it. First the voice belonged to a beautiful girl whom I thought we
met on the moon, and who talked only in the language of the birds. Then
she went to Mars with us, and there I heard the same sweet voice also
from one of the noble women of that happy planet.

“Oh, what queer things we do in our sleep, and how supremely selfish
a dreamer is. I once had a theory that we are all responsible for the
character of our dreams, but I hope, my dear, that you will not call me
to too strict an account in this case, I should blush to tell you how I
loved each singer, and yet I know now it was only the voice that charmed
me. I shall seek my pillow with delight to-night, to try and catch in my
sleep some faint echo of that song, for I never expect to hear its like
in my waking hours. You are laughing at me, and I don’t wonder. Let me
see. I dreamed that I dreamed that you and Mona and Avis were all one
grand, sweet singer. I wonder what would have happened if I had staid
there long enough to tell Avis something that was on my mind. Perhaps I
never should have come away.

“But forgive me, dear Margaret, for my enthusiasm for simply a memory,
and put the blame on my sensitive ears. And now, tell me what you have
been doing during these long hours. Did you find the professor and get
your book?”

“Yes, but I had to stay a few minutes and hear him talk. I hurried back,
however, to be with you, and for my reward found you fast asleep.”

“I was only dozing. But what did you do then?”

“Oh, I sat quiet for a while, and then took up the amusement I usually
follow when I find myself alone.”

“What is that? Pray tell.”

“Singing, of course.”


“Why, yes, didn’t you know I could sing?”

“Do you mean to say you were singing all those two or three hours?”

“Not all the time, but at intervals. I sang so loud sometimes that I
thought I should wake you.”

“Then,” I exclaimed with feeling, “it was you that I heard. You know my
ears are never fully asleep. Margaret, it was your voice that I have
been falling in love with.”

At this Margaret laughed heartily, as she answered:

“You have been a good while finding it out. I knew it all the time.
That’s what I sang for, and I had my pay as I went on, for every time
I began, whether soft or loud, I could see your face light up with the
light of your soul, and then I knew my voice was finding its way to some
corner of your brain.”

“How stupid of me,” I said, “not to wake up the very first time I heard
you; but I thought it was Mona. Oh, how it did thrill me! And to think
I am to hear it again when I am really awake. Come, why do we waste all
this time in talking when I have that great happiness still unfulfilled?
May I not hear you sing now?”

“Oh, you might be disappointed, after all. My idea is that you enjoyed
my singing because all your critical faculties were dulled in sleep, and
you heard only through your heart, as it were. Don’t you think it would
be better to live awhile on the pleasant memory you have brought back
with you?”

“Not at all. I can retain the memory, and have the present happiness

“But you said you never expected to hear such music in your waking

“Do not be so cruel, Margaret, as to recall those words against me,
although they were really a tribute to you, for it was your own voice
that forced me to utter them. But what can I do to induce you to sing?”

“Go to sleep,” she replied. “I will sing for you all you please when you
are asleep, and you can hear me and think of Mona at the same time. That
will be a double pleasure.”

“My dear, I prefer to think of you. Mona was a beautiful girl, but she
could never love me as you do.”

“Why so? Wasn’t her heart large enough?”

“Yes, it was too large--so large that she loved everybody, and one no
more than another; while you, darling, have chosen me, out of all the
people in the world, as the object of your highest and deepest love, and
yet in doing that have only increased your power of loving others. Now
what will you do to pay me for that speech?”

“Well, I’ll relent. But you must at least pretend to be asleep. Come
back and find another chair that you can rest in easily, and I will sit
beside you. There, that will do. Now turn your head away from me, close
your eyes, and promise me you won’t open them till I tell you to do so.
I intend to have the calm judgment of your ears uninfluenced by your
sight or any other sense. If you can manage to fall asleep while I am
singing, so much the better.”

“Margaret,” I replied, “I shall try hard to keep my eyes closed, but
there isn’t a drug in the ship’s dispensary powerful enough to put me to

“Then keep quiet and think of Mona. That will be the next best
occupation for you. Stop laughing, or I shall disappoint you, after
all. I should think the memory of the first time I sang for you would be
enough to sober you. Now I am going to turn away my head, so that if you
do look around you won’t see my face.”

I said nothing in reply, being too eager to have her begin. And now I
had not long to wait for the fulfillment of my oft-expressed desire.

Sweet and low came the first accents of her song, and, with all my
anticipations and with the foretaste I had had in my sleep, I was not
prepared for the effect they had on me. It was Mona’s voice, but with
every fine quality so exaggerated that all my faculties, now in the
fullest sense awake, were completely taken captive. I made no movement,
except to turn my head slightly so that I might drink in the sweet
sounds with both ears. As the notes increased in volume my pleasure grew
to rapture. Not only was my critical taste fully satisfied, which of
itself was almost bliss, but that other and higher effect followed--my
heart was enlisted. I had never known love till that hour. We had been
introduced to each other years ago and had kept up a cold and formal
acquaintance, and in my recent sleep we had made notable progress,
but only now did love and I really clasp hands in a warm and lasting

If I had loved Margaret before, then the feeling I now had was something
else, it was so different. But it was nothing else, and, therefore, I
was obliged to conclude that I had lived all these years with a false
notion in my head. As the song changed now and then, but did not
stop, my heart swelled with its strong emotion, and I had the greatest
difficulty to keep my promise and remain quiet. At length the music
ceased, and I jumped from my chair with the intention of giving Margaret
some palpable sign of my new love, when I was arrested by her warning
hand and these words:

“Wait, Walter, someone is coming. I can see all you want to tell me in
your face.”

I was obliged to stop, and reserve for a more private place any violent
manifestation of my exuberant affection, but answered quietly:

“Not all, dear Margaret. You will never know all my love.” There was now
more or less passing back and forth by the passengers, preparing for the
approaching landing, but yet we were able to continue our conversation.
At Margaret’s request I told her more about Mona and Avis, and the
principal incidents of what seemed to me a real experience, reserving
the graver parts of the story for other occasions. Her sympathies went
out particularly toward Mona, and suggested the question:

“Did not the poor child recover her voice?”

“I think she did soon after we left,” I replied. “I neglected to tell
you that, the morning we started for our last aerial trip, Antonia told
me she was teaching Mona the use of the vocal organs, and the results
were already such that she believed she would in a short time be
entirely successful.”

“How fortunate for me,” said Margaret, laughing, “that you came away
just then.”

“Oh, Margaret,” I exclaimed as loud as I dared, “I thought I was happy
last night, but what shall I call my condition now? Do you have that
intensity of feeling for me which is nearly bursting my heart?”

“Yes, my dear, I have had it for years. But my love is certainly
increasing now, when I see yours flowering out so luxuriantly.”

In such sweet converse the time passed rapidly. Steadily our noble
vessel carried us every moment nearer home. And with the last words of
Thorwald, “Go back to the earth,” still ringing in my ears, we steamed
amid familiar scenes--the lights from Long Island, New Jersey, Staten
Island, and soon Liberty’s torch, Governor’s Island, and the great city
in front of us. This voyage was ended, but our life’s voyage seemed to
be just beginning as I led Margaret forth with wonderful tenderness and
whispered in her ear, passionately, the magic words, “I love you.”


Every book should have a purpose. Notwithstanding the popular character
of much that is contained in these pages, the purpose of this volume is
a serious one.

I acquired the belief in the habitability of other worlds when quite
young, and it long ago grew into a settled conviction.

Firmly held by this idea, what is called the astronomical difficulty in
theology gave me great concern. When I considered the vast extent of the
universe, and saw, with but little imagination, millions on millions of
habitable worlds, I felt the force of the old objection, How could our
tiny earth have been chosen for such peculiar and high honor as we read
of in the gospel story?

Thomas Chalmers, in the preface to his astronomical discourses,
states the difficulty in these words: “This argument involves in it an
assertion and an inference. The assertion is, that Christianity is a
religion which professes to be designed for the single benefit of our
world; and the inference is, that God cannot be the author of this
religion, for he would not lavish on so insignificant a field such
peculiar and such distinguishing attentions as are ascribed to him in
the Old and New Testaments.”

And then Dr. Chalmers proceeds in his able manner to overthrow both
assertion and inference. He shows that it is only presumption for the
infidel to claim that Christianity is designed solely for this world,
and asks how he is able to tell us, “that if you go to other planets,
the person and religion of Jesus are there unknown to them.” “For
anything he [the infidel] can tell,” the writer continues, “the
redemption proclaimed to us is not one solitary instance, or not the
whole of that redemption which is by the Son of God;... the moral
pestilence, which walks abroad over the face of our world, may have
spread its desolation over all the planets of all the systems which the
telescope has made known to us.... The eternal Son, of whom it is said
that by him the worlds were created, may have had the government of many
sinful worlds laid upon his shoulders.”

In this and in all the rest of his argument Dr. Chalmers, while
intimating that the redemption may include other worlds, retains the
belief that the actual occurrences related in the gospel took place only
on this globe. Others may have heard the story, or, as he beautifully
says: “The wonder-working God, who has strewed the field of immensity
with so many worlds, and spread the shelter of his omnipotence over
them, may have sent a message of love to each, and reassured the
hearts of its despairing people by some overpowering manifestation of
tenderness.... Angels from paradise may have sped to every planet their
delegated way, and sung from each azure canopy a joyful annunciation,
and said, ‘Peace be to this residence and good will to all its families,
and glory to Him in the highest, who from the eminence of his throne has
issued an act of grace so magnificent as to carry the tidings of life
and of acceptance to the unnumbered orbs of a sinful creation.’”

But, as Dr. Chalmers truthfully says, it is not the infidel alone that
raises this question. It is asked by many sincere believers, generally
in communion with their own minds, and has disturbed, if not hindered,
their faith. These brilliant discourses left me still perplexed on the
main point, and I was forced to ask myself again if it was at all likely
that one world could be made so unlike all others as to become the only
scene of such a wonderful event as the death of the Son of God. And even
if this could be made to seem probable, what an infinitesimal chance
there would be that our earth would be the one chosen for this
exhibition, out of the unnumbered worlds that fill the immensity of

As a feeble hint toward a possible solution of this difficulty, this
volume is offered. The argument may not be acceptable to a single
reader. I do not say that I believe it myself; but the thought has
helped to satisfy my mind and may be of assistance to some other soul.
I will merely say that, of course, I do not believe the analogy between
any two worlds is so close as I have made it, for the purposes of the
story, between Mars and the earth.

In my effort to relieve the book of dullness, I have exaggerated some of
the situations, as in the treatment of the woman question for example,
but the intelligent reader will easily discover whether there be
anything of value remaining after the extravagance has been brushed

Alvan Clark & Sons, the celebrated makers of telescopic lenses, in view
of their recent successes in casting larger object-glasses than was once
thought possible, now assert that they can place no limit to the size
these glasses may reach in the future. It is only a question of time,
skill, patience, and money.

Is it, then, presumptuous to believe that the day will dawn when this
world will know whether Venus or Mars is inhabited? And if either or
both of them shall be found to be peopled, among the many questions of
engrossing interest to be studied it seems clear to me that the most
important will be the moral and spiritual condition of the inhabitants.


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