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Full text of "Across the zodiac : the story of a wrecked record"

IW^W.WMliujmTOIWiBHHPjm 



DUKE UNIVERSITY 



LIBRARY 



The Glenn Negley Collection 
of Utopian Literature 






ACROSS THE ZODIAC. 



DAI.l.ANTYNE, HANSON AND CO. 
BDINBURGW AND LONDON 



Across the Zodiac 



Zbe Stor? of a Mrecl?e& IRecorb 



DECIPHERED, TRANSLATED AND EDITED 
BY 

PERCY GREG 

AUTHOR OF "the DEVIL's ADVOCATE" ETC 



' Thoughts he sends to each planet, 

Uranus, Venus, and Mars; 

Soars to the Centre to span it, 

Numbers the infinite Stars." 

Courtliopes Paradise of Bird: 



VOL. I. 



LONDON 

TRUBNER & CO., LUDGATE HILL 

1 880 

\ All rights reserved] 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2010 with funding from 
Duke University Libraries 



http://www.archive.org/details/acrosszodiacstor01greg 



CONTENTS OF VOL. I. 






CHAP. PARE 

I. SHIPWRECK I 

II. OUTWARD BOUND 22 

III. THE UNTRAVELLED DEEP 50 

IV. A NEW WORLD 76 

V. LANGUAGE, LAWS, AND LIFE IIO 

VI. AN OFFICIAL VISIT 144 

VIL ESCORT DUTY . . . . • . . -155 

VIII. A FAITH AND ITS FOUNDER 1 75 

IX. MANNERS AND CUSTOMS I93 

X. WOMAN AND WEDLOCK 209 

XI. A COUNTRY DRIVE 230 

XII. ON THE RIVER 255 

XIII. THE CHILDREN OF LIGHT 273 



ACROSS THE ZODIAC. 



CHAP TEE I. 

SHIPWRECK. 

Once only, in tlie occasional travelling of thirty years, 
did I lose any important article of luggage ; and that 
loss occurred, not under the haphazard, devil-take-the- 
hindmost confusion of English, or the elaborate mis- 
rule of Continental journeys, but through the absolute 
perfection and democratic despotism of the American 
system. I had to give up a visit to the scenery of 
Cooper's best Indian novels — no slight sacrifice — and 
hasten at once to New York to repair the loss. This 
incident brought me, on an evening near the middle of 
September 1874, on board a river steamboat startino- 
from Albany, the capital of the State, for the Empire 
City. The banks of the lower Hudson are as well 
worth seeing as those of the Ehine itself, but even 
America has not yet devised means of lighting them 
up at night, and consequently I had no amusement but 
such as I could find in the conversation of my fellow- 
travellers. With one of these, whose abstinence from 
personal questions led me to take him for an English- 
man, I spoke of my visit to Niagara — the one wonder 
VOL. I. A 



2 Ao'oss the Zodiac. 

of the world that thoroughly " answers its warranty " 
— and to Montreal. As I spoke of the strong and 
general Canadian feeling of loyalty to the English 
Crown and connection, a Yankee bystander observed — 

" Wal, stranger, I reckon we could take 'em if we 
wanted tu ! " 

" Yes," I replied, " if you think them M'orth the price. 
Lut if you do, you rate them even more highly than 
they rate themselves ; and English colonists are not 
much behind the citizens of the model Eepublic in 
honest self-esteem." 

" "Wal," he said, " how much du yew calc'late we shall 
hev to pay ? " 

" Not more, perhaps, than you can afford ; only 
California, and every Atlantic seaport from Portland 
to Galveston." 

" Eeckon yew may be about right, stranger," he said, 
falling back with tolerable good-humour ; and, to do 
them justice, the bystanders seemed to think the retort 
no worse than the provocation deserved. 

" I am sorry," said my friend, " you should have 
fallen in with so unpleasant a specimen of the char- 
acter your countrymen ascribe with too much reason to 
Americans. I have been long in England, and never 
met with such discourtesy from any one who recognised 
me as an American." 

After this our conversation became less reserved ; 
and I found that I was conversing with one of the 
most renowned officers of irregular cavalry in the 
late Confederate service — a service which, in the 
efficiency, brilliancy, and daring of that especial arm, 
has never been surpassed since Maharbal's African 



Iiitrocitidory. 3 

Light Horse were recognised by friends and foes as the 
finest corps in the small splendid army of Hannibal. 

Colonel A (the reader will learn w^hy I give 

neither his name nor real rank) spoke with some bitter- 
ness of the inquisitiveness which rendered it impossible, 
he said, to trust an American with a secret, and very 
difficult to keep one without lying. "We were presently 

joined by Major B , who had been employed during 

the war in the conduct of many critical communica- 
tions, and had shown great ingenuity in devising and 
unravelling ciphers. On this subject a somewhat pro- 
tracted discussion arose. I inclined to the doctrine of 
Poe, that no cipher can be devised which cannot be 
detected by an experienced hand ; my friends indicated 
simple methods of defeating the processes on which 
decipherers rely. 

" Poe's theory," said the Major, " depends upon the 
frequent recurrence of certain letters, syllables, and 
brief words in any given language ; for instance, of e's 
and ^'s, tion and ed, a, and, and the in English. Xow it 
is perfectly easy to introduce abbreviations for each of 
the common short words and terminations, and equally 
easy to baffle the decipherer's reliance thereon by in- 
serting meaningless symbols to separate the words ; 
by employing two signs for a common letter, or so 
arranging your cipher that no one shall without extreme 
difficulty know which marks stand for single and which 
for several combined letters, where one letter ends and 
another begins." 

After some debate. Colonel A wrote down and 

handed me two lines in a cipher whose character at 
once struck me as very remarkable. 



4 Across the Zodiac. 

" I grant," said I, " that these hieroglyphics might 
•vrell puzzle a more practised decipherer than myself. 
Still, I can point out even here a clue which might 
help detection. There occur, even in these two lines, 
three or four symbols which, from their size and com- 
plication, are evidently abbreviations. Again, the dis- 
tinct forms are very few, and have obviously been 
made to serve for different letters by some slight 
alterations devised upon a fixed rule. In a word, the 
cipher has been constructed upon a general principle ; 
and though it may take a long time to find out what 
that principle is, it affords a clue which, carefully fol- 
lowed out, will probably lead to detection." 

" You have perceived," said Colonel A , " a fact 

which it took me very long to discover. I have not 
deciphered all the more difficult passages of the manu- 
script from which I took this example; but I have 
ascertained the meaning of all its simple characters, 
and your inference is certainly correct." 

Here he stopped abruptly, as if he thought he had 
said too much, and the subject droj^ped. 

We reached New York early in the morning and 
separated, having arranged to visit that afternoon a 
celebrated " spiritual " medium who was then giving 
stances in the Empire City, and of whom my friend had 
heard and repeated to me several more or less marvel- 
lous stories. Our visit, however, was unsatisfactory ; 
and as we came away Colonel A said — 

"Well, I suppose this experience confirms you in 
your disbelief ? " 

" jSTo," said I. " ]\Iy first visits have generally been 
failures, and I have more than once been told that my 



Introduciory. 5 

own temperament is most unfavourable to tlie success 
of a seance. Xevertlieless, I have in some cases wit- 
nessed marvels perfectly inexplicable by known natural 
laws ; and I have heard and read of others attested by 
evidence I certainly cannot consider inferior to my 
own." 

" Why," he said, " I thought from your conversation 
last night you were a complete disbeliever," 

" I believe," answered I, " in very little of what I 
liave seen. But that little is quite sufficient to dispose 
of the theory of pure imposture. On the other hand, 
there is nothing spiritual and nothing very human in 
the pranks played by or in the presence of the mediums. 
They remind one more of the feats of traditionary gob- 
lins ; mischievous, noisy, untrustworthy ; insensible to 
ridicule, apparently delighting to make fools of men, 
and perfectly indifferent to ha\dng the tables turned 
uj)on themselves." 

" But do you believe in goblins ? " 

" No," I replied ; " no more than in table-turniug 
ghosts, and less than in apparitions. I am not bound 
to find either sceptics or spiritualists in plausible ex- 
planations. But when they insist on an alternative to 
their respective theories, I suggest Puck as at least 
equally credible with Satan, Shakespeare, or the parrot- 
cry of imposture. It is the very extra\-agance of illogical 
temper to call on me to furnish an explanation because I 
say ' we know far too little of the thing itself to guess at 
its causes ; ' but of the current guesses, imposture seems 
inconsistent with the evidence, and 'spiritual agency' 
with the character of the phenomena." 

" That," replied Colonel A , " sounds common 



6 Across the Zodiac. 

sense, and sounds even more commonplace. And yet, 
no one seems really to draw a strong, clear line between 
non-belief and disbelief. And you are the first and only 
man I ever met who hesitates to affirm the impos- 
sibility of that which seems to him wildly improbable, 
contrary at once to received opinion and to his own 
experience, and contrary, moreover, to all known 
natural laws, and all inferences hitlierto drawn from 
them. Your men of science dogmatise like divines, not 
only on things they have not seen, but on tilings they 
refuse to see ; and your divines are half of them afraid 
of Satan, and the other half of science." 

" The men of science have," I replied, " like every 
other class, their especial bias, their peculiar profes- 
sional temptation. The anti-religious bigotry of Posi- 
tivists is quite as bitter and irrational as the theolo- 
gical bigotry of religious fanatics. At present the two 
powers countervail and balance each other. But, as 
three hundred years ago I should certainly have been 
burnt for a heretic, so fifty or a hundred years hence, 
could I live so long, I should be in equal apprehension 
of being burnt by some successor of Mr. Congreve, Mr. 
Harrison, or Professor Huxley, for presuming to believe 
in Providential government." 

"The intolerance of incredulity," returned Colonel 

A , " is a sore subject with me. I once witnessed a 

phenomenon which was to me quite as extraordinary 
as any of the 'spiritual' performances. I have at 
this moment in my possession apparently irresistible 
evidence of the reality of what then took place ; and 
I am sure that there exists at a point on the earth's 
surface, which unluckily I cannot define, strong cor- 



IntrodtLctory. 7 

roborative proof of my story. Nevertheless, the first 
persons who heard it utterly ridiculed it, and were 
disposed to treat me either as a madman, or at best 
as an audacious trespasser on that privilege of lying 
which belonged to them as mariners. I told it after- 
wards to three gentlemen of station, character, and 
intelligence, every one of whom had known me as 
soldier, and I hope as gentleman, for years ; and in 
each case the result was a duel, which has silenced 
those who imputed to me an unworthy and purposeless 
falsehood, but has left a heavy burden on my con- 
science, and has prevented me ever since from repeating 
what I know to be true and believe to be of greater 
interest, and in some sense of greater importance, 
than any scientific discovery of the last century. 
Since the last occasion on which I told it seven years 
have elapsed, and I never have met any one but 
yourself to whom I have thought it possible to dis- 
close it." 

" I have," I answered, " an intense interest in all 
occult phenomena ; believing in regard to alleged 
magic, as the scientists say of practical science, that 
every one branch of such knowledge throws light on 
others ; and if there be nothing in your story which it 
is personally painful to relate, you need not be silenced 
by any apprehension of discourteous criticism on my 
part." 

" I assure you," he said, " I have no such wish now 
to tell the story as I had at first. It is now associated 
with the most painful incident of my life, and I have 
lost altogether that natural desire for sympathy and 
human interest in a matter deeply interesting to 



8 Across tJie Zodiac. 

myself, which, like every one else, I felt at first, and 
which is, I suppose, the motive that prompts us all to 
relate often and early any occurrence that has keenly 
affected us, in whatever manner. But I think that I 
have no right to suppress so remarkable a fact, if by 
telling it I can place it effectually on record for the 
benefit of men sensible enough to believe that it may 
have occurred, especially since somewhere in the 
world there must yet exist proof that it did occur. 
If you will come to my rooms in Street to- 
morrow, Number 999, I will not promise, but I think 
that I shall have made up my mind to tell you what 
1 have to tell, and to place in your hands tliat portion 
of the evidence which is still at my command — evi- 
dence that has a significance of its own, to which my 
experience is merely episodical." 

I spent that evening with the family of a friend, one 
of several former officers of the Confederacy, whose 
friendship is the one permanent and valuable result of 
my American tour. I mentioned the Colonel's name, and 
my friend, the head of the family, having served with 
lum through the Virginian campaigns, expressed tlie 
highest confidence in his character, the highest opinion 
of his honour and veracity ; but spoke with bitter 
regret and pain of the duels in which he liad been 
engaged, especially of one which had been fatal ; re- 
marking that tlie motive in each instance remainetl 
unknown even to the seconds. " I am sure," he said 
" that they were not, could not have been, fought for 
the one cause that would justify them and explain 
the secrecy of the quarrel — some question involving 
female honour or reputation, I can hardly conceive 



Introductory. 9 

that any one of his adversaries could Lave called in 
question in any way the personal loyalty of Colonel 

A ; and, as you remarked of General M , it 

is too absurd for a man who had faced over and 
over again the fire of a whole brigade, who had led 
charges against fourfold numbers, to prove his personal 
courage with sword or pistol, or to think that any one 
would have doubted either his spirit or his nerve had 
lie refused to fight, whatever the provocation. More- 
over, in each case he was the challenger." 

" Then these duels have injured him in Southern 
opinion, and have probably tended to isolate him from 
society ? " 

" No," he replied. " Deeply as they were regretted 
and disapproved, his services during the war were so 
brilliant, and his personal character stands so high, that 
nothing could have induced his fellow-soldiers to put 
any social stigma upon him. To me he must know 
that he would be most welcome. Yet, though we have 
lived in the same city for five years, I have only encoun- 
tered him three or four times in the street, and then 
he has passed with the fewest possible words, and has 
neither given me his address nor accepted my urgent 
invitations to visit us here. I think that there is some- 
thing in the story of those duels that will never be 
known, certainly something that has never been guessed 
yet. And I think that either the circumstances in 
which they must have had their origin, or the duels 
themselves, have so weighed upon his spirits, perhaps 
upon his conscience, that he has chosen to avoid his 
former friends, most of them also the friends of his 
antagonists. Though the war ruined him as utterly as 



lO Across tJie Zodiac. 

any of the tliousaiuls of Southern gentlemen whom 
it has reduced from wealth to absolute poverty, he 
has refused every employment which would bring him 
before the public eye." 

" Is there," I asked, " any point of honour on which 
you could suppose him to be so exceptionally sensitive 
that he would think it necessary to take the life of a 
man who touched him on that point, though afterwards 
his regret, if not repentance, might be keen enough to 
crush his spirit or break his heart ? " 

The General paused for a moment, and his son then 
interposed — 

" I have heard it said that Colonel A was in 

general the least quarrelsome of Confederate officers ; 
but that on more than one occasion, where his statement 
upon some point of fact had been challenged by a com- 
rade, who did not intend to question his veracity but 
simply the accuracy of his observation, their brother 
officers had much trouble in preventing a serious diffi- 
culty." 

The next day I called as agreed upon my new-found 
friend, and with some reluctance he commenced his 
story. 

" During the last campaign, in February 1865, I was 
sent by General Lee with despatches for Kirby Smith, 
then commanding beyond the Mississippi. I was unable 
to return before the surrender, and, for reasons into 
which I need not enter, I believed myself to be marked 
out by the Federal Government for vengeance. If I 
had remained witliin their reach, I might have shared 
the fate of Wirz and other victims of calumnies which, 
once put in circulation during the war, their official 



The Shipwreck. 1 1 

authors dared not retract at its close. Now I and 
others, who, if captured in 1865, might probably have 
been hanged, are neither molested nor even suspected 
of any other offence than that of fighting, as our oppo- 
nents fought, for the State to which our allegiance was 
due. However, I thought it necessary to escape before 
the final surrender of our forces beyond the Mississippi. 
I made my way to Mexico, and, like one or two Southern 
officers of greater distinction than myself, entered the 
service of the Emperor Maximilian, not as mere soldiers 
of fortune, but because, knowing better than any but 
her Southern neighbours knew it the miserable anarchy 
of Mexico under the Eepublic, we regarded conquest as 
the one chance of regeneration for that country, and 
the Emperor Maximilian as a hero who had devoted 
himself to a task heroic at once in its danger and diffi- 
culty — the restoration of a people with whom his house 
had a certain historical connection to a place among the 
nations of the civilised world. After his fall, I should 
certainly have been shot had I been caught by the 
Juarists in pursuit of me. I gained the Pacific coast, 
and got on board an English vessel, whose captain — 
loading for San Erancisco — generously weighed anchor 
and sailed with but half a cargo to give me a chance of 
safety. He transferred me a few days afterwards to a 
Dutch vessel bound for Brisbane, for at that time I 
thought of settling in Queensland. The crew was weak- 
handed, and consisted chiefly of Lascars, Malays, and 
two or three European desperadoes of all languages and 
of no country. Her master was barely competent to 
the ordinary duties of his command ; and it was no 
surprise to me when the first storm that we encountered 



1 2 Across tJie Zodiac. 

drove us completely out of our course, nor was I much 
astonished that the captain was for some days, partly 
from fright and partly from drink, incapable of using 
his sextant to ascertain the position of the ship. One 
night we were awakened by a tremendous shock ; and, 
to spare you the details of a shipwreck, which have 
nothing to do with my story, we found ourselves when 
day broke fast on a coral reef, about a mile from an 
island of no great size, and out of sight of all other 
land. The sextant having been broken to pieces, I had 
no means of ascertaining the position of this island, 
nor do I now know anything of it except that it lay, in 
the month of August, within the region of the soutli- 
east trade winds. "We pulled on shore, but, after ex- 
ploring the island, it was found to yield nothing attrac- 
tive to seamen except cocoa-nuts, with which our crew 
had soon supplied themselves as largely as they wished, 
and fish, which were abundant and easily caught, and 
of which tliey were soon tired. The captain, therefore, 
when he had recovered his sobriety and his courage, 
had no great difficulty in inducing them to return to 
the ship, and endeavour either to get her off or construct 
from her timbers a raft which, following the course of 
the winds, might, it was thought, bring them into the 
track of vessels. This would take some time, and I 
meanwhile was allowed to remain (my own wish) on 
terra firma ; the noise, dirt, and foul smells of the vessel 
being, especially in that climate, intolerable. 

" About ten o'clock in the morning of the 25 th August 
1867, I was lying towards the southern end of the 
island, on a little hillock tolerably clear of trees, and 
facing a sort of glade or avenue, covered only with 



The Shipwreck. 13 

brush and young trees, which allowed me to see the 
sky within perhaps twenty degrees of the horizon. 
Suddenly, looking up, I saw what appeared at first like 
a brilliant star considerably higher than the sun. It 
increased in size with amazing rapidity, till, in a very 
few seconds after its first appearance, it had a very 
perceptible disc. For an instant it obscured the sun. 
In another moment a tremendous shock temporarily 
deprived me of my senses, and I think that more than 
an hour had elapsed before I recovered them. Sitting 
up, somewhat confused, and looking around me, I be- 
came aware that some strange accident had occurred. 
In every direction I saw such traces of havoc as I had 
witnessed more than once when a Confederate force 
holding an impenetrable woodland had been shelled at 
fandom for some hours with the largest guns that the 
enemy could bring into the field. Trees were torn and 
broken, branches scattered in all directions, fragments 
of stone, earth, and coral rock flung all around. Par- 
ticularly I remember that a piece of metal of consider- 
able size had cut off the tops of two or three trees, and 
fixed itself at last on what was now the summit of one 
about a third of whose length had been broken off and 
lay on the ground. I soon perceived that this miracu- 
lous bombardment had proceeded from a point to the 
north-eastward, the direction in which at that season 
and hour the sun was visible. Proceeding thitherward, 
the evidences of destruction became every minute more 
marked, I might say more universal. Trees had been 
thrown down, torn up by the roots, hurled against one 
another; rocks broken and flung to great distances, 
some even thrown up in the air, and so reversed in 



14 Across the Zodiac. 

falling that, while again half buried iu the soil, they 
exposed what had been their undermost surface. In a 
word, before I had gone two miles I saw that the 
island had sustained a shock which might have been 
that of an earthquake, which certainly equalled that 
of the most violent Central American earthquakes in 
severity, but which had none of the special peculiarities 
of that kind of natural convulsion. Presently I came 
upon fragments of a shining pale yellow metal, gene- 
rally small, but in one or two cases of remarkable size 
and shape, apparently torn from some sheet of great 
thickness. In one case I found embedded between two 
such jagged fragments a piece of remarkably hard im- 
penetrable cement. At last I came to a point from 
wdiich through the destruction of the trees the sea was 
visible iu the direction in which the ship had lain ; 
but the ship, as in a few moments I satisfied myself, 
had utterly disappeared. Eeaching the beach, I found 
that the shock had driven the sea far up upon the 
land ; fishes lying fifty yards inland, and everything 
drenched in salt water. At last, guided by the signs 
of ever-increasing devastation, I reached the point 
whence the mischief had proceeded. I can give no 
idea in words of what I there found. The earth had 
been torn open, rooted up as if by a gigantic explosion. 
In some places sharp-pointed fragments of the coral 
rock, which at a depth of several feet formed the bed 
of the island, were discernible far below the actual 
surface. At others, the surface itself was raised several 
feet by dthris of every kind. What I may call the 
crater — though it was no actual hole, but rather a cavity 
torn and then filled up by falling fragments — was two 



The SJiipivreck. 15 

or three liundred feet in circumference ; and in this 
space I found considerable masses of the same metallic 
substance, attached generally to pie(ies of the cement. 
After examining and puzzling myself over this strange 
scene for some time, my next care was to seek traces of 
the ship and of her crew ; and before long I saw just 
outside the coral reef what had been her bowsprit, and 
presently, floating on the sea, one of her masts, with 
the sail attached. There could be little xloubt that the 
shock had extended to her, had driven her off the reef 
where she had been fixed into the deep water outside, 
where she must have sunk immediately, and had broken 
her spars. No traces of her crew were to be seen. 
They had probably been stunned at the same time that 
they were thrown into deep water ; and before I came 
in sight of the point where she had perished, whatever 
animal bodies were to be found must have been 
devoured by the sharks, which abounded in that neigh- 
bourhood. Dismay, perplexity, and horror prevented 
my doing anything to solve my doubts or relieve my 
astonishment before the sun went down ; and during 
the night my sleep was broken by snatches of horrible 
dreams and intervals of waking, during which I mar- 
velled over what I had seen, scarcely crediting my 
memory or my senses. In the morning, I went back 
to the crater, and with some tools that had been left on 
shore contrived to dig somewhat deeply among the 
debris with which it was filled. I found very little 
that could enlighten me except pieces of glass, of 
various metals, of wood, some of which seemed ap- 
parently to have been portions of furniture ; and one 



1 6 Acj'oss tJic Zodiac. 

damaged but still entire relic, which I preserved and 
brought away with me." 

Here the Colonel removed a newspaper which hail 
covered a portion of his table, and showed me a metallic 
case beaten out of all shape, but apparently of what 
had been a silvery colour, very little rusted, though 
much soiled. This he opened, and I saw at once that 
it was of enormous thickness and solidity, to which and 
to favouring circumstances it owed its preservation in 
the general ruin he described. That it had undergone 
some severe and violent shock there could be no ques- 
tion. Beside the box lay a less damaged though still 
seriously injured object, in which I recognised the 
resemblance of a book of considerable thickness, and 
bound in metal like that of the case. This I afterwards 
ascertained beyond doubt to be a metalloid alloy where- 
of the principal ingredient was aluminium, or some 
substance so closely resembling it as not to be dis- 
tinguishable from it by simple chemical tests. A friend 
to whom I submitted a small portion broken off from 
the rest expressed no doubt that it was a kind of 
aluminium bronze, but inclined to believe that it con- 
tained no inconsiderable proportion of a metal with 
which chemists are as yet imperfectly acquainted ; 
perhaps, he said, silicon ; certainly something which 
had given to the alloy a hardness and tenacity unknown 
to any familiar metallurgical compound. 

"This," said my friend, opening the volume, "is a manu- 
script which was contained in this case when I took it 
from among the debris of the crater. I should have told 
you that I found there what I believed to be fragments 
of human flesh and bone, but so crushed and mangled 



TJie Shipwreck. i 7 

that I could form no positive conclusion. My next 
care was to escape from the island, which I felt sure 
lay far from the ordinary course of merchant vessels. 
A boat which had brought me ashore — the smaller of 
tlie two belonging to the ship — had fortunately been 
left on the end of the island furthest from that on 
which the vessel had been driven, and had, owing to 
its remoteness, though damaged, not been fatally injured 
by the shock. I repaired this, made and fixed a mast, 
and with no little difficulty contrived to manufacture a 
sort of sail from strips of bark woven together. Know- 
ing that, even if I could sustain life on the island, life 
under such circumstances would not be worth having, 
I was perfectly willing to embark upon a voyage in 
which I was well aware the chances of death were at 
least as five to one. I caught and contrived to smoke 
a quantity of fish sufficient to last me for a fortnight, 
and filled a small cask with brackish but still drinkable 
water. In this vessel, thus stored, I embarked about a 
fortnight after the day of the mysterious shock. On 
the second evening of my voyage I was caught by a 
gale which compelled me to lower the sail, and before 
which I was driven for three days and nights, in what 
direction I can hardly guess. On the fourth morning 
the wind had fallen, and by noon it was a perfect calm. 
I need not describe what has been described by so 
many shipwrecked sailors, — the sufferings of a solitary 
voyager in an open boat under a tropical sun. Tlie 
storm had supplied mo with water more than enough ; 
so that I was spared that arch-torture of thirst which 
seems, in the memory of such sufferers, to absorb all 
others. Towards evening a sliglit breeze sprang up, 
VOL. I. B "^ 



1 8 Across tJie Zodiac. 

uiul by morning I came in siglit of a vessel, wliich I 
contrived to Ijoard. Her crew, however, and even her 
captain, utterly discredited such part of my strange 
story as I told them. On that point, however, I will 
say no more than this : I will place this manuscript in 
your hands. I will give you the key to such of its 
ciphers as I have been able to make out. The language, 
I believe, for I am no scholar, is Latin of a mediaeval 
type ; but there are words which, if I rightly decipher 
them, are not Laiin, and hardly seem to belong to any 
known language ; most of them, I fancy, quasi-scientific 
terms, invented to describe various technical devices un- 
known to the world when the manuscript was written. 
I only make it a condition that you shall not publish 
the story during my life ; that if you show the manu- 
script or mention the tale in confidence to any one, you 
will strictly keep my secret; and that if after my 
death, of which you shall be advised, you do publish it, 
you will afibrd no clue by which the donor could be 
confidently identified." 

" I promise," said I. " But I should like to ask you 
one question. What do you conceive to have been the 
cause of the extraordinary shock you felt and of the 
havoc you witnessed ? What, in short, the nature of the 
occurrence and the origin of the manuscript you entrust 
to my care ? " 

" Why need you ask me ? " he returned. " You are 
as capaljle as myself of drawing a deduction from what 
I have told you, and I have told you everything, I be- 
lieve, that could assist you. The manuscript will tell 
the rest." 

" But," said I, " an actual eye-witness often receives 



The Shipwreck. 19 

from a number of little facts which he cannot re- 
member, which are perhaps too minute to have been 
actually and individually noted by him, an impression 
which is more likely to be correct than any that could 
be formed by a stranger on the fullest cross-question- 
ing, on the closest examination of what remains in 
the witness's memory. I should like to hear, before 
opening the manuscript, what you believe to have been 
its origin. 

" I can only say," he answered, " that what must be 
inferred from the manuscript is what I had inferred 
before I opened it. That same explanatioii was the 
only one that ever occurred to me, even in the first 
night. It then seemed to me utterly incredible, but it 
is still the only conceivable explanation that my mind 
can suggest." 

" Did you," asked I, " connect the shock and the relics, 
which I presume you know were not on the island 
before the shock, with the meteor and the strange 
obscuration of the sun ? " 

" I certainly did," he said. " Having done so, there 
could be but one conclusion as to the quarter from 
which the shock was received." 

The examination and transcription of the manuscript, 
with all the help afforded me by my friend's previous 
efforts, was the work of several years. There is, as the 
reader will see, more than one hiatus valde dcficndus, 
as the scholiasts have it, and there are passages in 
which, whether from the illegibility of the manuscript 
or the employment of technical terms unknown to me, 
I cannot be certain of the correctness of my translation. 
Such, however, as it is, I give it to the world, having 



20 Across the Zodiac. 

fulfilled, I believe, every one of the conditions imposed 
Tipon me by my late and deeply regretted friend. 

The character of the manuscript is very curious, and 
its translation was exceedingly difficult. The material 
on which it is written resembles nothing used for such 
purposes on Earth. It is more like a very fine linen or 
sUken web, but it is far closer in texture, and has never 
been woven in any kind of loom at all like those em- 
ployed in any manufacture known to history or arclue- 
ology. The letters, or more properly symbols, are 
minute, but executed with extraordinary clearness. 1 
should fancy that something more like a pencil than a 
pen, but with a finer point than that of the finest pencil, 
was employed in the writing. Contractions and com- 
binations are not merely frequent, but almost universal. 
There is scarcely an instance in which five consecutive 
letters are separately written, and there is no single 
line in which half a dozen contractions, often including 
from four to ten letters, do not occur. The pages are 
of the size of an ordinary duodecimo, but contain some 
fifty lines per page, and perhaps one hundred and fifty 
letters in each line. What were probably the first half 
dozen pages have been utterly destroyed, and the next 
half dozen are so mashed, tattered, and defaced, that 
only a few sentences here and there are legible. I 
have contrived, however, to combine these into what I 
believe to be a substantially correct representation of 
the author's meaning. The Latin is of a monastic — 
sometimes almost canine — quality, with many words 
which are not Latin at all. For the rest, though here 
and there pages are illegible, and though some symbols, 
es23ecially those representing numbers or chemical com- 



The Shipzvreck. 21 

pounds, are absolutely undeciplieraLle, it has been pos- 
sible to effect what I hope will be found a clear and 
coherent translation. I have condensed the narrative 
but have not altered or suppressed a line for fear of 
offending those who must be unreasonable, indeed, if 
they lay the offence to my charge. 

One word more. It is possible, if not likely, that some 
of those friends of the narrator, for whom the account 
was evidently written, may still be living, and that 
these pages may meet their eyes. If so, they may be 
able to solve the few problems that have entirely baffled 
me, and to explain, if they so choose, the secrets to 
which, intentionally or through the destruction of its 
introductory portion, the manuscript affords no clue. 

I must add that these volumes contain only the first 
section of the ]\IS. record. The rest, relating the inci- 
dents of a second voyage and describing another world, 
remains in my hands ; and, should this part of the work 
excite general attention, the conclusion will, by myself 
or by my executors, be given to the public. Otherwise, 
on my death, it will be placed in the library of some 
national or scientific institution. 



CHAPTER II. 

OUTWARD BOUND. 

. . . For obvious reasons, those who possessed the 
secret of the Apergy * had never dreamed of applying 
it in the manner I proposed. It had seemed to them 
little more than a curions secret of nature, perhaps 
hardly so much, since the existence of a repulsive force 
in the atomic sphere had been long suspected and of 
late certainly ascertained, and its preponderance is held 
to be the characteristic of the gaseous as distinguished 
from the liquid or solid state of matter. Till lately, 
no means of generating or collecting this force in 
large quantity had been found. The progress of elec- 
trical science had solved this difficulty; and when the 
secret was communicated to me, it possessed a value 
which had never before belonged to it. 

Ever since, in childhood, I learnt that the planets 
were worlds, a visit to one or more of the nearest of 
them had been my favourite day-dream. Treasuring 
every hint afforded by science or fancy that bore upon 
the sul)ject, I felt confident that such a voyage would 
be one day achieved. Helped by one or two really 
ingenious romances on this theme, I had dreamed out 
my dream, realised every difficulty, ascertained every 
* (^y. ttTTo, from, epyos, work — as en-ergy ? 



Outward Botind. 23 

factor in the pruLlem. I had satisfied myself that 
only one thing needful was as yet wholly beyond the 
reach and even the proximate hopes of science. 
Human invention could furnisli as yet no motive 
power that could fulfil the main requirement of tlie 
problem — uniform or constantly increasing motion in 
vacuo — motion through a region affording no resisting 
medium. This must be a repulsive energy capable of 
acting through an utter void. Man, animals, birds, 
fishes move by repulsion applied at every moment. In 
air or water, paddles, oars, sails, fins, wings act by 
repulsion exerted on the fluid element in which they 
work. But in space there is no such resisting element 
on which repulsion can operate. I needed a repul- 
sion which would act like gravitation through an in- 
definite distance and in a void — act upon a remote 
fulcrum, such as might be the Earth in a voyage to 
the Moon, or the Sun in a more distant journey. As 
soon, then, as the character of the apergic force was 
made known to me, its application to this purpose 
seized on my mind. Experiment had proved it pos- 
sible, by the method described at the commencement 
of this record, to generate and collect it in amounts 
practically unlimited. The other hindrances to a 
voyage through space were trivial in comparison with 
that thus overcome ; there were difficulties to be 
surmounted, not absent or deficient powers in nature 
to be discovered. The chief of these, of course, con- 
cerned the conveyance of air sufficient for tlie needs 
of the traveller during the period of his journey. The 
construction of an air-tight vessel was easy enough ; 
but however large the body of air conveyed, even 



24 Across tJie Zodiac. 

though its oxygen should not be exliausted, the car- 
bonic acid given out by breathing would very soon 
so contaminate the whole that life would be impossible. 
To eliminate this element it would only be necessary 
to carry a certain quantity of lime-water, easily calcu- 
lated, and by means of a fan or similar instrument to 
drive the whole of tlie air periodically through the 
vessel containing it. The lime in solution combining 
with the noxious gas would show by the turbid white- 
ness of the water the absorption of the carbonic acid 
and formation of carbonate of lime. But if the car- 
bonic acid gas were merely to be removed, it is obvious 
that the oxygen of the air, which forms a part of that 
gas, would be constantly diminished and ultimately 
exhausted ; and the effect of highly oxygenated air 
upon the circulation is notoriously too great to allow 
of any considerable increase at the outset in the pro- 
portion of this element. I might carry a fresh supply 
of oxygen, available at need, in some solid combination 
like chlorate of potash ; but the electricity employed 
for the generation of the apergy might be also applied 
to the decomposition of carbonic acid and the restora- 
tion of its oxygen to the atmosphere. 

But the vessel had to be steered as well as propelled ; 
and in order to accomplish this it would be necessary 
to command the direction of the apergy at pleasure. 
My means of doing this depended on two of the best- 
established peculiarities of this strange force : its recti- 
linear direction and its conductibility. We found that 
it acts through air or in a vacuum in a single straight 
line, without deflection, and seemingly without diminu- 
tion. Most solids, and especially metals, according to 



Outward Bound. 25 

their electric condition, are more or less impervious to 
it — antapergic. Its power of penetration diminishes 
under a very obscure law, but so rapidly that no con- 
ceivable strength of current would affect an object 
protected by an intervening sheet half an inch in 
thickness. On the other hand, it prefers to all other 
lines the axis of a conductive bar, such as may be 
formed of [undecipherable] in an antapergic sheath. 
However such bar may be curved, bent, or divided, the 
current will fill and follow it, and pursue indefinitely, 
without divergence, diffusion, or loss, the direction in 
which it emerges. Therefore, by collecting the current 
from the generator in a vessel cased with antapergic 
material, and leaving no other aperture, its entire volume 
might be sent into a conductor. By cutting across this 
conductor, and causing the further part to rotate upon 
the nearer, I could divert the current through any 
required angle. Thus I could turn the repulsion upon 
the resistant body (sun or planet), and so propel the 
vessel in any direction I pleased. 

I had determined that my first attempt should be a 
visit to Mars. The Moon is a far less interesting body, 
since, on the hemisphere turned towards the Earth, the 
absence of an atmosphere and of water ensures the 
absence of any such life as is known to us — probably 
of any life that could be discerned by our senses — and 
would prevent landing ; while nearly all the soundest 
astronomers agree in believing, on apparently sufficient 
grounds, that even the opposite hemisphere [of which 
small portions are from time to time rendered visible 
by the libration, though greatly foreshortened and com- 
sequently somewhat imperfectly seen] is equally devoid 



26 ^1 cross the Zodiac, 

of the two primary necessaries of animal and vegetable 
life. That Mars has seas, clouds, and an atmosphere 
was generally admitted, and I held it to be beyond 
question. Of Venus, owing to her extraoidinary bril- 
liancy, to the fact that when nearest to the Earth a 
very small portion of her lighted surface is visible to 
us, and above all to her dense cloud- envelope, very 
little was known ; and though I cherished the intention 
to visit her even more earnestly than my resolve to reach 
the probably less attractive planet Mars, I determined 
to begin with that voyage of which the conditions and 
the probable result were most obvious and certain, I 
preferred, moreover, in the first instance, to employ the 
apergy as a propelling rather than as a resisting force. 
Now, after passing beyond the immediate sphere of the 
Earth's attraction, it is plain that in going towards Mars 
I should be departing from the Sun, relying upon the 
apergy to overcome his attraction ; whereas in seeking 
to attain Venus I should be approaching the Sun, rely- 
ing for my main motive power upon that tremendous 
attraction, and employing the apergy only to moderate 
the rate of movement and control its direction. The 
latter appeared to me the more delicate, difficult, and 
perhaps dangerous task of the two; and I resolved to 
defer it until after I had acquired some practical experi- 
ence and dexterity in the control of my machinery. 

It was expedient, of course, to make my vessel as 
light as possible, and, at the same time, as large as 
considerations of weight woidd admit. But it was of 
paramount importance to have walls of great thick- 
ness, in order to prevent the penetration of the outer 
cold of space, or rather the outward passage into that 



Oiitward Botuid. 27 

intense cold of tlie heat generated witliin the vessel 
itself, as well as to resist the tremendous outward pres- 
sure of the air inside. Partly for these reasons, and 
partly because its electric character makes it especially 
capable of being rendered at will pervious or imper- 
vious to the apergic current, I resolved to make the outer 
and inner walls of an alloy of ... , while the space 
between should be filled up with a mass of concrete or 
cement, in its nature less penetrable to heat than any 
other substance which Nature has furnished or the wit 
of man constructed from her materials. The materials 
of this cement and their proportions were as follows.* 

Briefly, having determined to take advantage of the 
approaching opposition of Mars in mdcccxx . . . , f I 
had my vessel constructed with walls three feet thick, 
of which the outer six and the inner three inches were 
formed of the metalloid. In shape my Astronaut some- 
what resembled the form of an antique Dutch East- 
Indiaman, being widest and longest in a plane equi- 
distant from floor and ceiling, the sides and ends 
sloping outwards from the floor and again inwards 
towards the roof. The deck and keel, however, were 
absolutely flat, and each one hundred feet in length and 
fifty in breadth, the height of tlie vessel being about 
tAventy feet. In the centre of the floor and in that of 
the roof respectively I placed a large lens of crystal, 
intended to act as a window in the first instance, the 

* Tlie chemical notation of the JIS. is unfortunatel}^ difTcrent from 
any known to any chemist of my acquaintance, and utterly unde- 
cipherable. 

t Last figures illegible : the year is probably i S30. 



2S Across tJic Zodiac. 

lower to admit the rays of the Sun, while tlirough tlie 
upper I should discern tlie star towards which I was 
steering. The floor, being much heavier than the rest 
of the vessel, would naturally he turned downwards ; 
that is, during the greater part of the voyage towards 
the Sun. I placed a similar lens in the centre of each 
of the four sides, with two plane windows of the same 
material, one in the upper, the other in the lower 
half of the wall, to enable me to discern any object 
in whatever direction. The crystal in question con- 
sisted of ... , which, as those who manufactured it for 
me are aware, admits of being cast with a perfection 
and equality of structure throughout unattainable with 
ordinary glass, and wrought to a certainty and accuracy 
of curvature whicli the most patient and laborious 
polishing can hardly give to the lenses even of mode- 
rate-sized telescopes, whether made of glass or metal, 
and is singularly impervious to heat. I had so calcu- 
lated the curvature that several eye-pieces of different 
magnifying powers which I carried with me might be 
adapted equally to any of the window lenses, and throw 
a perfect image, magnified by lOO, looo, or 5000, upon 
mirrors properly placed. 

I carpeted the floor with several alternate layers of 
cork and cloth. At one end I placed my couch, table, 
bookshelves, and other necessary furniture, with all 
the stores needed for my voyage, and with a further 
weight sufficient to preserve equilibrium. At the other 
I made a garden with soil three feet deep and five feet 
in width, divided into two parts so as to permit access 
to the windovvs. I flUed each garden closely with 
shrubs and flowering plants of the greatest possible 



OtUward Bound. 29 

variety, partly to absorb animal waste, partly in the 
hope of naturalising them elsewhere. Covering both 
with wire netting extending from the roof to the floor, 
I filled the cages thus formed with a variety of birds. 
In the centre 01 the vessel was the machinery, occupy- 
ing altogether a space of about thirty feet by twenty. 
The larger portion of this area was, of course, taken up 
by the generator, above which was the receptacle of the 
apergy. From this descended right through the floor a 
conducting bar in an antapergic sheath, so divided that 
without separating it from the upper portion the lower 
might revolve in any direction through an angle of 
twenty minutes (20'). This, of course, was intended to 
direct the stream of the repulsive force against the Sun. 
The angle might have been extended to thirty minutes, 
but that I deemed it inexpedient to rely upon a force, 
directed against the outer portions of the Sun's disc, 
believing that these are occupied by matter of density 
so small that it might afford no sufficient base, so to 
speak, for the repulsive action. It was obviously neces- 
sary also to repel or counteract the attraction of any 
body which might come near me during the voyage. 
Again, in getting free from the Earth's influence, I must 
be able to steer in any direction and at any angle to the 
surface. For this purpose I placed five smaller bars, 
passing through the roof and four sides, connected, like 
the main conductor, with the receptacle or apergion, 
but so that they could revolve through a much laiger 
angle, and could at any moment be detached and in- 
sulated. 

My steering apparatus consisted of a table in which 
were three larjie circles. The midmost and left hand 



30 Across tJic Zodiac. 

of these were occupied by accurately polished plane 
mirrors. The central circle, or metacompass, was 
divided by three hundred and sixty fine lines, radiat- 
ing from the centre to the circumference, marking as 
many different directions, each deviating by one degree 
of arc from the next. This mirror was to receive 
through the leus in the roof the ima^e of the star 
towards which I was steering. While this remained 
stationary in the centre all was well. When it moved 
along any one of the lines, the vessel was obviously 
deviating from her course in the opposite direction ; 
and, to recover the right course, the repellent force 
must be caused to drive her in the direction in which 
the image had moved. To accomplish this, a helm was 
attached to the lower division of the main conductor, 
by which the latter could be made to move at will in 
any direction within the limit of its rotation. Con- 
trolling this helm was, in the open or steering circle 
on the right hand, a small knob to be moved exactly 
parallel to the deviation of the star in the mirror of 
the metacompass. The left-hand circle, or discometer, 
was divided by nineteen hundred and twenty concen- 
tric circles, equidistant from each other. The outermost, 
about twice as far from the centre as from the external 
edge of the mirror, was exactly equal to the Sun's cir- 
cumference when presenting the largest disc he ever 
shows to an observer on Earth. Each inner circle cor- 
responded to a diameter reduced by one second. By 
means of a vernier or eye-piece, the diameter of the 
Sun could be read off the discometer, and from his 
diameter my distance could be accurately calculated. 
On the further side of the machinery was a chamber 



Outward Bound. 3*1 

for the decomposition of the carbonic acid, through 
wliich the air was driven by a fan. This fan itself 
was worked by a horizontal wheel with two projecting 
squares of antapergic metal, against each of which, as 
it reached a certain point, a very small stream of repul- 
sive force was directed from the apergion, keeping the 
wheel in constant and rapid motion. I had, of course, 
supplied myself with an ample store of compressed 
vegetables, preserved meats, milk, tea, cofiee, &c., and 
a supply of water sufficient to last for double the period 
which the voyage was expected to occupy ; also a well- 
furnished tool-chest (with wires, tubes, &c.). One of 
the lower windows was made just large enough to 
admit my person, and after entering I had to close it 
and fix it in its place firmly with cement, w^hich, when 
I wished to quit the vessel, would have again to be 
removed. 

Of course some months were occupied in the manu- 
facture of the different portions of the vessel and her 
machinery, and sometime more in their combination ; 
so that when, at the end of July, I was ready to start, 
the opposition was rapidly approaching. In the course 
of some fifty days the Earth, moving in her orbit at a 
rate of about eleven hundred miles * per minute, would 
overtake Mars; that is to say, would pass between him 
and the Sun. In starting from the Earth I should share 
this motion ; I too should go eleven hundred miles a 
minute in the same direction ; but as I should travel 
along an orbit constantly widening, the Earth would 

* These distances are given in Roman measures and round numbers 
not easy of exact rendering. 



32 Across tJie Zodiac. 

leave me beliiiid. The apergy had to make up for this, 
as well as to carry me some forty millions of miles in a 
direction at right angles to the former — right outward 
towards the orbit of Mars. Again, I should share the 
motion of that particular spot of the Earth's surface 
from wliich I rose around her axis, a motion varying 
with the latitude, greatest at tlie equator, nothing at 
the pole. This would whirl me round and round the 
Earth at the rate of a thousand miles an hour ; of this I 
must, of course, get rid as soon as possible. And when 
I should be rid of it, I meant to start at first right 
upward ; that is, straight away from the Sun and in the 
plane of the ecliptic, which is not very different from 
that in which Mars also moves. Therefore I should 
begin my effective ascent from a point of the Earth as 
far as possible from the Sun ; that is, on the midnight 
meridian. 

For the same reason which led me to start so long 
before the date of the opposition, I resolved, having 
regard to the action of the Earth's rotation on her axis, 
to start some hours before midnight. Taking leave, 
then, of the two friends who had thus far assisted me, 
I entered the Astronaut on the 1st August, about 
4.30 P.M. 

After sealing up the entrance-window, and ascer- 
taining carefully that everything was in order — a task 
which occupied me about an hour — I set the generator 
to work ; and when I had ascertained that the apergion 
was full, and that the force was supplied at the required 
rate, I directed the whole at first into the main conductor. 
After doing this I turned towards the lower window on 
the west — or, as it was then, the right-hand side — and 



Ouhuard Bound. 



Zl 



was in time to catch sight of the trees on the hills, some 
half mile off and about two hundred feet above the level 
of my starting-point. I should have said that I had con- 
siderably compressed my atmosphere and increased the 
proportion of oxygen b}^ about ten per cent., and also 
carried with me the means of reproducing the whole 
amount of the latter in case of need. Among my instru- 
ments was a pressure-gauge, so minutely divided that, 
with a movable vernier of the same power as the fixed 
ones employed to read the glass circles, I could discover 
the slightest escape of air in a very few seconds. The 
pressure-gauge, however, remained immovable. Going 
close to the window and looking out, I saw the Earth 
falling from me so fast that, witliin five minutes after 
my departure, objects like trees and even houses had 
become almost indistinguishable to the naked eye. I 
had half expected to hear the whistling of the air as the 
vessel rushed upward, but nothing of the kind was per- 
ceptible through her dense walls. It was strange to 
observe the rapid rise of the sun from the westward. 
Still more remarkable, on turning to the upper window, 
was the rapidly blackening aspect of the sky. Suddenly 
everything disappeared except a brilliant rainbow at 
some little distance — or perhaps I should rather have 
said a halo of more than ordinary rainbow brilliancy, 
since it occupied, not like the rainbows seen from below, 
something less than half, but nearly two-thirds of a circle. 
I was, of course, aware that I was passing through a 
cloud, and one of very unusual thickness. In a few 
seconds, however, I was looking down upon its upper 
surface, reflecting from a thousand broken masses of 
vapour at different levels, from cavities and hillocks 

VOL. I. c 



34 Across tlie Zodiac. 

of mist, the light of the sun ; white beams mixed 
with innumerable rays of all colours in a confusion 
of indescribable brilliancy. I presume that the total 
obscuration of everything outside the cloud during my 
passage through it was due to its extent and not to its 
density, since at that height it could not have been 
otherwise than exceedingly light and diffuse. Looking 
upward through the eastern window, I could now dis- 
cern a number of brighter stars, and at nearly every 
moment fresh ones came into view on a constantly 
darkening background. Looking downward to the west, 
where alone the entire landscape lay in daylight, I 
presently discerned the outline of shore and sea 
extending over a semicircle whose radius much ex- 
ceeded five hundred miles, implying that I was about 
thirty-five miles from the sea- level. Even at this 
height the extent of my survey was so great in 
comparison to my elevation, that a line drawn from 
the vessel to the horizon was, though very roughly, 
almost parallel to the surface ; and the horizon there- 
fore seemed to be not very far from my own level, 
while the point below me, of course, appeared at a 
vast distance. The appearance of the surface, there- 
fore, was as if the horizon had been, say, some thirty 
miles higher than the centre of the semicircle bounding 
my view, and the area included in my prospect had the 
form of a saucer or shallow bowl. But since the dia- 
meter of the visible surface increases only as the square 
root of the height, this appearance became less and less 
perceptible as I rose higher. It had taken me twenty 
minutes to attain the elevation of thirty-live miles ; but 
my speed was, of course, constantly increasing, very much 



Outward Bonn d. 35 

as the speed of an object falling to the Earth from a 
great height increases; and before ten more minutes 
had elapsed, I found myself surrounded by a blackness 
nearly absolute, except in the direction of the Sun, — 
which was still well above the sea — and immediately 
round the terrestrial horizon, on which rested a riiK' 
of sunlit azure sky, broken here and there by clouds. 
In every other direction I seemed to be looking not 
merely upon a black or almost black sky, but into 
close surrounding darkness. Amid this darkness, how- 
ever, were visible innumerable points of light, more or 
less brilliant — the stars — which no longer seemed to be 
spangled over the surface of a distant vault, but rather 
scattered immediately about me, nearer or farther to 
the instinctive apprehension of the eye as they "were 
brighter or fainter. Scintillation there was none, ex- 
cept in the immediate vicinity of the eastern horizon, 
where I still saw them through a dense atmosphere. 
In short, before thitry minutes had elapsed since the 
start, I was satisfied that I had passed entirely out 
of the atmosphere, and had entered into the vacancy of 
space — if such a thing as vacant space there be. 

At this point I had to cut off the greater part of 
the apergy and check my speed, for reasons that will 
be presently apparent. I had started in daylight in 
order that during the first hundred miles of my ascent 
I might have a clear view of the Earth's surface. Not 
only did I wish to enjoy the spectacle, but as I had 
to direct my course by terrestrial landmarks, it v/as 
necessary that I should be able to see these so as to 
determine the rate and direction of the Astronaut's 
motion, and discern the first symptoms of any possible 



36 Across tJic Zodiac. 

danger. But obviously, since my course lay gener- 
ally in the piano of the ecliptic, and for the present 
at least nearly in the line joining the centres of the 
Earth and Sun, it was desirable that my real journey 
into space should commence in the plane of the 
midnight meridian; that is, from above the part of 
the Earth's surface immediately opposite the Sun. 
I had to reach this line, and having reached it, to 
remain for some time above it. To do both, I must 
attain it, if possible, at the same moment at which 
I secured a westward impulse just sufficient to counter- 
balance the eastward impulse derived from the rotation 
of the Earth ; — that is, in the latitude from which I 
started, a thousand miles an hour. I had calculated 
that while directing through the main bar a current 
of apergy sufficient to keep the Astronaut at a fixed 
elevation, I could easily spare for the eastward con- 
ductor sufficient force to create in the space of one 
hour the impulse required, but that in the course of 
that hour the gradually increasing apergic force would 
drive me 500 miles westward. Now in six hours the 
J^^arth's rotation would carry an object close to its 
surface through an angle of 90°; that is, from the 
sunset to the midnight meridian. But the frreater 
the elevation of the object the wider its orbit round 
the Earth's centre, and the longer each degree ; so that 
moving eastward only a thousand miles an hour, I 
should constantly lag behind a point on the Earth's 
surface, and should not reach the midnight meridian 
till somewhat later. I had, moreover, to lose 500 
miles of the eastward drift during the last hour in 
which I should be subject to it, through the action 



Oidward Bound. ^j 

of the apergic force above-mentioned. Now, an eleva- 
tion of 3 30 miles would give the Astronaut an orbit on 
whicli 90° would represent 6500 miles. In seven hours 
I should be carried along that orbit 7000 miles east- 
ward by the impulse my Astronaut had. received from 
the Earth, and driven back 500 miles by the apergy ; 
so that at r a.m. by my chronometer I should be 
exactly in the plane of the midnight meridian, or 6500 
miles east of my starting-point in space, provided that 
I put the eastward apergic current in action exactly 
at 1 2 P.M. by the chronometer. At ; a.m. also I should 
have generated a westward impulse of 1000 miles an 
hour. This, once created, would continue to exist 
though the force that created it were cut off, and 
would exactly counterbalance the opposite rotation 
impulse derived from the Earth; so that thenceforward I 
should be entirely free from the influence of the latter, 
though still sharing that motion of the Earth through 
space at the rate of nearly nineteen miles per second, 
M'hich would carry me towards the line joining at the 
moment of opposition her centre with that of Mars. 

All went as I had calculated. I contrived to arrest 
the Astronaut's motion at the required elevation just 
about the moment of sunset on the region of the 
Earth immediately underneath. At 12 p.m., or 24h. 
by the chronometer, I directed a current of the re- 
quisite strength into the eastward conductor, which I 
had previously pointed to the Earth's surface, but a 
little short of the extreme terrestrial horizon, as I 
calculated it. At i a.m. I found myself, judging by 
the stars, exactly where I wished to be, and nearly 
stationary as regarded the Earth. I instantly arrested 



38 Aci'oss tJic Zodiac. 

the eastward current, detaching that conductor from 
the apergion ; and, directing the whole force of the 
current into the downward conductor, I had the 
pleasure of seeing that, after a very little adjustment 
of the helm, the stars remained stationary in the 
mirror of the metacompass, showing that I had escaped 
from the influence of the Earth's rotation. It was 
of course impossible to measure the distance traversed 
during tlie invisibility of the Earth, but I reckoned 
that I had made above 500 miles between ih. and 
2h. A.M., and that at 4h. I was not less than 4S00 
miles from the surface. Witli this inference the 
indication of my barycrite substantially agreed. The 
latter instrument consisted of a spring wliose deflection 
by a given weight upon the equator had been very 
carefully tested. Gravity diminishing as the square 
of the distance from the centre, it was obvious that 
at about 8000 miles — or 4000 above the Earth's surface 
— this spring would be deflected only one quarter as 
much by a given weight as on Earth : at 16,000 miles 
from the surface, or 20,000 from the centre, one-twenty- 
fifth as much, and so on. I had graduated the scale 
accordingly, and it indicated at present a distance 
somewhat less than 9000 miles from the centre. 
Having adjusted the helm and set the alarum to 
wake me in six hours, I lay down upon my bed. 

The anxiety and peril of my position had disturbed 
me very little whilst I was actively engaged either in 
steering and manipulating my machinery, or in looking 
upon the marvellous and novel spectacles presented to 
my eyes ; but it now oppressed me in my sleep, and 
caused me frequently to wake from dreams of a hideous 



Ouhuard Boiuid. 39 n 

character. Two or three times, on such awaking, I went 
to examine the metacompass, and on one occasion found 
it necessary slightly to readjust the helm ; the stars by 
wliich I steered having moved some second or two to 
the right of their proper position. 

On rising, I completed the circuit which filled my 
vessel with brilliant light emitted from an electric lamp 
at the upper part of the stern, and reflected by the 
polished metallic walls. I then proceeded to get my 
breakfast, for which, as I had tasted nothing since some 
hours before the start, I had a hearty appetite. I had 
anticipated some trouble from the diminished action of 
gravity, doubting whether the boiling-point at this im- 
mense height above the Earth might not be affected ; 
but I found that this depends upon the pressure of the 
atmosphere alone, and that this pressure was in nowise 
affected by tlie absence of gravity. My atmosphere 
being somewhat denser than that of the Earth, the boil- 
ing-point was not 100°, but 101° Cent. The tempera- 
ture of the interior of the vessel, taken at a point equi- 
distant from the stove and from the walls, was about 
5° C; unpleasantly cool, but still, with the help of a 
greatcoat, not inconveniently so. I found it absolutely 
impossible to measure by means of the thermometers I 
had placed outside the windows the cold of space; but 
that it falls far short of the extreme supposed by some 
writers, I confidently believe. It is, however, cold 
enough to freeze mercury, and to reduce every other 
substance employed as a test of atmospheric or labora- 
tory temperatures to a solidity which admits of no fur- 
ther contraction. I had filled one outside thermometer 
with spirit, but this was broken before I looked at it ; 



40 Across the Zodiac. 

jiml in another, whose bulb unfortunately was blackened, 
and which was filled with carbonic acid gas, an appa- 
rent vacuum had been created. Was it that the gas 
had been frozen, and had sunk into the lower part of 
the bulb, where it would, of course, be invisible ? "When 
I had completed my meal and smoked the very small 
cigar which alone a jirudent consideration for the state 
of the atmosphere would allow me, tlie chronometer 
showed I o A.Ji. It was not surprising that by this time 
weight had become almost non-existent. My twelve 
stone had dwindled to the weight of a small fowl, and 
hooking my little finger into the loop of a string hung 
from a peg fixed near the top of the stern wall, I found 
myself able thus to support my weight without any 
sense of fatigue for a quarter of an hour or more ; in 
fact, I felt during that time absolutely no sense of mus- 
cular weariness. This state of things entailed only one 
inconvenience. Nothing had any stability ; so that the 
slightest push or jerk would upset everything that was 
not fixed. However, I liad so far anticipated this that 
nothing of any material consequence was unfixed, and 
except that a touch with my spoon upset the egg-cup 
and egg on which I was about to breakfast, and that 
this, falling against a breakfast cup full of coffee, over- 
turned that, I was not incommoded. I managed to 
save the greater part of the beverage, since, the at- 
mospheric pressure being the same though the weight 
was so changed, lead, and still more china or liquid, 
fell in the Astronaut as slowly as feathers in the imme- 
diate vicinity of the Earth. Still it was a novel expe- 
rience to find myself able to lean in any direction, and 
rest in almost any posture, with but the slightest sup- 



Outward Bcinid. 4 i 

port for the body's centre of gravity ; and further to find 
on experiment that it was possible to remain for a 
couple of hours with my heels above my head, in the 
favourite position of a Yankee's lower limbs, without 
any perceptible congestion of blood or confusion of 
brain. 

I was occupied all day with abstract calculations ; 
and knowing that for some time I could see nothing of 
the Earth — her dark side being opposite me and wholly 
obscuring the Sun, while I was as yet far from having 
entered within the sphere where any novel celestial 
phenomena might be expected — I only gave an occasional 
glance at the discometer and metacompass, suppressing 
of course the electric glare within my vessel, till I 
awoke from a short siesta about I9h. (7 p.m.) The Earth 
at this time occupied on the sphere of view a space — 
defined at first only by the absence of stars — about 
thirty times greater than the disc of the j\Ioon as seen 
through a tube ; but, being dark, scarcely seemed larger 
to the eye than the full Moon when on the horizon. 
But a new method of defining its disc was presently 
afforded me. I was, in fact, when looking through the 
lower window, in the same position as regards the Earth 
as would be an inhabitant of the lunar hemisphere 
turned towards her, having no external atmosphere inter- 
posed between us, but being at about two-thirds of the 
lunar distance. And as, during an eclipse, the Lunarian 
would see round the Earth a halo created by the refrac- 
tion of the Sun's rays in the terrestrial atmosphere — a 
halo bright enough on most occasions so to illuminate 
the Moon as to render her visible to us — so to my eyes 
the Earth was surrounded by a halo somewhat resembling 



42 Across the Zodiac. 

the solar corona as seen in eclipses, if not nearly so 
brilliant, but, unlike the solar corona, coloured, with a 
2)reponderance of red so decided as fully to account for 
the peculiar hue of the eclipsed Moon. To paint this, 
unless means of painting light — the one great deficiency 
which is still the opprobrium of human art — were dis- 
covered, would task to the uttermost the powers of the 
ablest artist, and at best he could give but a very im- 
perfect notion of it. To describe it so that its beauty, 
brilliancy, and wondrous nature shall be in the slightest 
degree appreciated by my readers would require a com- 
mand of words such as no poet since Homer — nay, not 
Homer himself — possessed. What was strange, and can 
perhaps be rendered intelligible, was the variation, or, 
to use a phrase more suggestive and more natural, if 
not more accurate, the extreme mobility of the hues of 
this earthly corona. There were none of the efflorescences, 
if one may so term them, which are so generally visible 
at four cardinal points of its solar prototype. The outer 
portion of the band faded very rapidly into the dark- 
ness of space ; but the edge, though absolutely undefined, 
was perfectly even. But on the generally rainbow- 
tinted ground suffused with red — which perhaps might 
best be described by calling it a rainbow seen on a 
background of brilliant crimson — there were here and 
there blotches of black or of lighter or darker grey, 
caused apparently by vast expanses of cloud, more or 
less dense. Eound the edges of each of these were little 
irregular rainbow-coloured halos of their own interrupt- 
ing and variegating the continuous bands of the corona ; 
while throughout all was discernible a perpetual vari- 
ability, like the flashing or shooting of colour in the 



OiUzuard Botuid. 43 

opal, the mother-of-pearl, or similarly tinted trans- 
lucent substances when exposed to the irregular play 
of bright light — only that in this case the tints were 
incomparably more brilliant, the change more striking, 
if not more rapid. I could not say that at any parti- 
cular moment any point or part of the surface presented 
this or that definite hue ; and yet the general character 
of the rainbow, suffused with or backed by crimson, 
was constant and unmistakable. The lisfht sent throucrh 
the window was too dim and too imperfectly diffused 
within my vessel to be serviceable, but for some time 
I put out the electric lamp in order that its diffused 
light should not impair my view of this exquisite 
spectacle. As thrown, after several reflections, upon the 
mirror destined afterwards to measure the image of the 
solar disc, the apparition of the halo was of course much 
less bright, and its outer boundary ill defined for 
accurate measurement. The inner edge, where the light 
was bounded by the black disc of the Earth, shaded off 
much more quickly from dark reddish purple into 
absolute blackness. 

And now a surprise, the first I had encountered, 
awaited me. I registered the gravity as shown by the 
barycrite ; and, extinguishing the electric lamp, mea- 
sured repeatedly the semi-diameter of the Earth and of 
the halo around her upon the discometer, the inner 
edge of the latter affording the measurement of the 
l)lack disc, which of itself, of course, cast no reflection, 
I saw at once that there was a signal difference in the 
two indications, and proceeded carefully to revise the 
earth-measurements. On the average of thirteen mea- 
sures the halo was about 87^^, or nearly i|' in breadth, 



44 Acj'oss the Zodiac. 

the disc, allowing for tlie twilight round its edge or 
limb, about 2° 50'. If the refracting atmosphere were 
some 65 miles in depth, these proportions were correct. 
Eelighting the lamp, I worked out severally on paper 
the results indicated by the two instruments. Tlie 
discometer gave a distance, roughly speaking, of 40 
terrestrial radii, or 1 60,000 miles. The barycrite should 
have shown a gravity, due to the Earth's attraction, not 
40 but 1600 times less than that prevailing on the 
Earth's surface ; or, to put it in a less accurate form, a 
weight of 100 lbs. should have weighed an ounce. It 
did weigh tv;o ounces, the gravity being not one 1600th 
but one Sooth of terrestrial gravity, or just double what 
I expected. I puzzled myself over tliis matter longer, 
probably, than the intelligent reader will do : the expla- 
nation being obvious, like that of many puzzles that 
bewilder our minds intensely, only to humiliate us 
proportionately when the solution is found — a solution 
as simple as that of Columbus's egg-riddle. At lengtli, 
finding that the lunar angle — the apparent position of 
the Moon — confirmed the reading of the discometer, 
giving the same apogaic distance or elevation, I sup- 
posed that the barycrite must be out of order or subject 
to some unsuspected law of which future observations 
might afford evidence and explanation, and turned to 
other subjects of interest. 

Looking through the upper window on the left, I was 
struck by the rapid enlargement of a star which, when 
I first noticed it, might be of the third magnitude, but 
which in less than a minute attained the first, and in a 
minute more was as large as the planet Jupiter when 
seen with a magnifying power of one hundred diameters. 



Oiilward Bound. 45 

Its disc, however, liad no continuous outline ; and as it 
approaclied I perceived that it was an irregular mass of 
whose size I could form not even a conjectural estimate, 
since its distance must be absolutely uncertain. Its 
brilliancy grew fainter in proportion to the enlargement 
as it approached, proving that its light was reflected ; 
and as it passed me, apparently in the direction of the 
earth, I had a sufficiently distinct view of io to know 
that it was a mainly metallic mass, certainly of some 
size, perhaps four, perhaps twenty feet in diameter, and 
apparently composed chiefly of iron ; showing a more or 
less blistered surface, but with angles sharper and faces 
more regularly defined than most of those wdiich have 
been found upon the earth's surface — as if the shape of 
the latter might be due in part to the conflagration they 
undergo in passing at such tremendous speed through 
the atmosphere, or, in an opposite sense, to the fractures 
caused by the shock of their falling. Though I made 
no attempt to count the innumerable stars in the midst 
of which I appeared to float, I was convinced that their 
number was infinitely greater than that visible to the 
naked eye on the brightest night. I remembered how 
greatly the inexperienced eye exaggerates the number of 
stars visible from the Earth, since poets, and even olden 
observers, liken their number to that of the sands on the 
seashore; whereas the patient work of map and catalogue 
makers has shown that there are but a few thousands 
visible in the whole heavens to the keenest unaided 
sight. I suppose that I saw a hundred times that 
number. In one word, the sphere of darkness in which 
I floated seemed to be filled with points of light, while 
the absolute blackness that surroun<led them, the 



46 Across the Zodiac. 

absence of the slightest radiation, or ilhiminaiion of 
space at large, was strange beyond expression to an 
eye accustomed to that diffusion of light which is pro- 
duced by the atmosphere. I may mention here that 
the recognition of the constellations was at first exceed- 
ingly difficult. On Earth we see so few stars in any 
given portion of the heavens, tliat one recognises with- 
out an effort the figure marked out by a small number 
of the brightest amongst them ; while in my position 
the multitude was so great that only patient and repeated 
effort enabled me to separate from the rest those pecu- 
liarly brilliant luminaries by which we are accustomed 
to define such constellations as Orion or the Bear, to 
say nothing of those minor or more arbitrarily drawn 
figures which contain few stars of the second magnitude. 
The eye had no instinctive sense of distance ; any star 
might have been within a stone's throw. I need hardly 
observe that, wliile on one hand the motion of the vessel 
was absolutely imperceptible, there was, on the other, no 
change of position among the stars which could enable 
me to verify the fact that I was moving, much less 
suggest it to the senses. The direction of every recog- 
nisable star was the same as on Earth, as it appears the 
same from the two extremities of the Earth's orbit, 190 
millions of miles apart. Looking from any one window, 
I could see no greater space of the heavens than in 
looking through a similar aperture on Earth. What 
was novel and interesting in my stellar prospect was, 
not merely that I could see those stars north and south 
which are never visible from the same point on Earth, 
except in the immediate neighbourhood of the Equator ; 
but that, save on the small space concealed by the 



Otihuai'd Bound. 



47 



Earth's disc, I could, by moving from -u-iiidow to win- 
dow, survey the entire heavens, looking at one minute 
upon the stars surrounding the vernal, and at another, 
by changing my position, upon those in the neighbour- 
hood of the autumnal equinox. By little more than a 
turn of my head I could see in one direction Polaris 
{alpha Ursse Minoris) with the Great Bear, and in another 
the Southern Cross, the Ship, and the Centaur. 

About 23h. 30m., near the close of the first day, I 
again inspected the barycrite. It showed ^tuo o^ ^^r- 
restrial gravity, an incredibly small change from the 
■g-Jo recorded at igh., since it implied a progress pro- 
portionate only to the square root of the difference. 
The observation indicated, if the instrument could be 
trusted, an advance of only 18,000 miles. It was 
impossible that the Astronaut had not by this time 
attained a very much greater speed than 4c 00 miles 
an liour, and a greater distance from the Eaith than 2,Z 
terrestrial radii, or 132,000 miles. Moreover, the bary- 
crite itself had given at igh. a distance of 28^ radii, 
and a speed far greater than that which upon its show- 
ing had since been maintained. Extimjuishin^ the 
lamp, I found that the Earth's diameter on the dis- 
cometer measured 2° 3' 52'' (?). This represented a 
gain of some 90,000 miles ; much more approximate to 
that which, judging by calculation, I ought to have 
accomplished during the last four hours and a half, if 
my speed approached to that I had estimated. I 
inspected the cratometer, which indicated a force as 
great as that with which I had started, — a force 
which should by this time have given me a speed of 
at least 22,000 miles an hour. At last the solution of 



4S Across the Zoaiac. 

the problem flashed upon me, suggested by the very 
extravagance of the contradictions. Not only did the 
barycrite contradict the discometer and the reckoning 
but it contradicted itself ; since it was impossible that 
under one continuous inipulsation I should have tra- 
versed 282- radii of the Earth in the first eighteen hours 
and no more than /\\ in the next four and a half hours. 
In truth, the barycrite was eilected by two separate 
attractions, — that of the Earth and that of the Sun, as 
yet operating almost exactly in the same direction. 
At first the attraction of the former was so great that 
that of the Sun was no more perceived than upon the 
Earth's surface. But as I rose, and the Earth's attraction 
diminished in proportion to the square of the distance 
from her centre — which was doubled at 8000 miles, 
quadrupled at 16,000, and so on — the Sun's attraction, 
which was not perceptibly affected by differences so 
small in proportion to his vast distance of 95,000,000 
miles, became a more and more important element in 
the total gravity. If, as I calculated, I had by igh. 
attained a distance from the earth of 160,000 miles, the 
attractions of Earth and Sun were by that time pretty 
nearly equal ; and hence the phenomenon which had so 
puzzled me, that the gravitation, as indicated by the 
barycrite, was exactly double that which, beaiing in 
mind the Earth's attraction alone, I had calculated. 
Erom this point forward the Sun's attraction was the 
factor which mainly caused such weight as still existed; 
a change of position which, doubling my distance from 
the Earth, reduced her influence to one-fourth, not per- 
ceptibly affecting that of a body four hundred times 
more remote. A short calculation showed tliat, this 



Outward Boiind. 49 

fact borne in mind, the indication of the baryciite 
substantially agreed with that of the discometer, and 
that I was in fact very nearly where I supposed, that 
is, a little farther than the Moon's farthest distance 
from the Earth. It did not follow that I had crossed 
the orbit of the Moon ; and if I had, she w-as at that 
time too far off to exercise a serious influence on my 
course. I adjusted the helm and betook myself to 
rest, the second day of my journey having already 
commenced. 



VOL. I. 



( 50 ) 



CHAPTER III. 

THE UNTRA VELLED DEEP. 

EisiNG at 511., I observed a drooping in the leaves of my 
garden, and especially of the larger sbrubs and plants, 
for which. I was not wholly unprepared, but which might 
entail some inconvenience if, failing altogether, they 
should cease to absorb the gases generated from buried 
waste, to consume which they had been planted. Be- 
sides this, I should, of course, lose the opportunity of 
transplanting them to Mars, though I had more hope 
of acclimatising seedlings raised from the seed I carried 
with me than plants which had actually begun their 
life on the surface of the Earth. The failure I ascribed 
naturally to the known connection between the action 
of gravity and the circulation of the sap ; thougli, as I 
had experienced no analogous inconvenience in my own 
person, I had hoped that this would not seriously affect 
vegetation. I was afraid to try the effect of more liberal 
watering, the more so that already the congelation of 
moisture upon the glasses from the internal air, dry as 
the latter had been kept, was a sensible annoyance — an 
annoyance which would have become an insuperable 
trouble had I not taken so much pains, by directing 
the thermic currents upon the walls, to keep the in- 
ternal temperature, in so far as comfort would permit — 



The Untravelled Deep. 51 

it had now fallen to 4° C. — as near as possible to that 
of the inner surface of the walls and windows. A care- 
ful use of the thermometer indicated that the metallic 
surface of the former was now nearly zero C, or 32° F. 
The inner surface of the windows was somewhat colder, 
showing that the crystal was more pervious to heat than 
the walls, with their greater thickness, their outer and 
inner lining of metal, and massive interior of concrete. 
I directed a current from the thermogene upon either 
division of the garden, hoping thus to protect the plants 
from whatever injury they might receive from the cold. 
Somewhat later, perceiving that the drooping still con- 
tinued, I resolved upon another experiment, and arrang- 
ing an apparatus of copper wire beneath the soil, so as 
to bring the extremities in immediate contact with their 
roots, I directed through these wires a prolonged feeble 
current of electricity ; by which, as I had hoped rather 
than expected, the plants wxre after a time materially 
beneJEited, and to which I believe I owed it that they 
had not all perished long before the termination of my 
voyage. 

It would be mere waste of space and time were I to 
attempt anything like a journal of the weeks I spent 
in the solitude of this artificial planet. As matter of 
course, the monotony of a voyage through space is in 
general greater than that of a voyage across an ocean 
like the Atlantic, where no islands and few shijis are to 
be encountered. It was necessary to be very frequently, 
if not constantly, on the look-out for possible incidents 
of interest in a journey so utterly novel through regions 
which the telescope can but imperfectly exj^lore. It 
was difficult, therefore, to sit down to a book, or even to 



52 Across the Zodiac. 

pursue any necessary occupation unconnected with the 
actual conduct of the vessel, with uninterrupted atten- 
tion. My eyes, the only sense organs I could employ, 
were constantly on the alert ; but, of course, by far the 
greater portion of my time passed without a single new 
object or occasion of remark. That a journey so utterly 
without precedent or parallel, in which so little could be 
anticipated or provided for, through regions absolutely 
untraversed and very nearly iinknoAvn, should be mono- 
tonous, may seem strange. But in truth the novelties 
of the situation, such as they were, though intensely 
striking and interesting, were each in turn speedily 
examined, realised, and, so to speak, exhausted; and 
this once done, there was no greater occupation to the 
mind in the continuance of strange than in that of 
familiar scenery. The infinitude of surrounding black- 
ness, filled as it were with points of light more or less 
brilliant, when once its effects had been scrutinised, and 
when nothing more remained to be noted, afforded cer- 
tainly a more agreeable, but scarcely a more interesting 
or absorbing, outlook than the dead grey circle of sea, 
the dead grey hemisphere of cloud, which form the 
prospect from the deck of a packet in mid- Atlantic ; 
while of change without or incident in the vessel her- 
self there was, of course, infinitely less than is afforded 
in an ocean voyage by the variations of weather, not to 
mention the solace of human society. Everything 
around me, except in the one direction in which the 
Earth's disc still obscured the Sun, remained unchanged 
for hours and days; and the management of my ma- 
chinery required no more than an occasional observation 
of my instruments and a change in the position of the 



The Untravellcd Deep. 5 3 

helm, which occupied but a few minutes some half- 
dozen times in the twenty-four hours. There was not 
even the change of night and day, of sun and stars, of 
cloud or clear sky. Were I to describe the manner in 
which each day's leisure was spent, I should bore my 
readers even more than — they will perhaps be surprised 
by the confession — I was bored myself. 

My sleep was of necessity more or less broken. I 
wished to have eight hours of rest, since, though seven 
of continuous sleep might well have sufficed me, even 
if my brain had been less quiet and unexcited during 
the rest of the twenty-four, it was impossible for me 
to enjoy that term of unbroken slumber. I therefore 
decided to divide my sleep into two portions of rather 
more than four hours each, to be taken as a rule after 
noon and after midnight; or rather, since noon and 
midnight had no meaning for me, from I2h, to i6h. 
and from 2411. to 4h. But of course sleep and every- 
thing else, except the necessary management of the 
machine, must give way to the chances of observation ; 
it would be better to remain awake for forty-eight hours 
at a stretch than to. miss any important phenomenon 
the period of whose occurrence could be even remotely 
calculated. 

At 8h., I employed for the first time the apparatus 
which I may call my window telescope, to observe, from 
a position free from the difficulties inflicted on terres- 
trial astronomers by the atmosphere, all the celestial 
objects within my survey. As I had anticipated, the 
absence of atmospheric disturbance and diffusion of 
light was of extreme advantage. In the first place, I 
ascertained by the barycrite and the discometer my 



54 Across the Zodiac. 

distance from the Earth, which appeared to be about 
1 20 terrestrial radii. The light of the halo was of 
course very much narrower than when I first observed 
it, and its scintillations or coruscations no longer dis- 
tinctly visible. The Moon presented an exquisitely fine 
thread of light, but no new object of interest on the 
very small portion of her daylight hemisphere turned 
towards nie. Mars was somewhat difficult to observe, 
being too near what may be called my zenith. But 
the markings were far more distinct than they appear, 
with greater magnifjdng powers than I employed, upon 
the Earth. In truth, I should say that the various 
disadvantages due to the atmosphere deprive the astro- 
nomer of at least one-half of the available light-collect- 
ing power of his telescope, and consequently of the 
defining power of the eye-piece ; that with a 200 glass 
he sees less than a power of 100 reveals to an eye 
situated in space ; though, from the nature of the lens 
through which I looked, I cannot speak with certainty 
upon this point. With a magnifying power of 300 the 
polar spots of Mars were distinctly visible and perfectly 
defined. They were, I thought, less white than they 
appeared from the Earth, but their colour was notably 
different from that of the planet's general surface, differ- 
ing almost as widely from the orange hue of what I 
supposed to be land as from the greyish blue of the 
water. The orange was, I thought, deeper than it 
appears through a telescope of similar power on Earth. 
The seas were distinctly grey rather than blue, espe- 
cially when, by covering the greater part of the field, I 
contrived for a moment to observe a sea alone, thus 
eliminating the effect of contrast. The bauds of Jupiter 



The Untravelled Deep. 55 

in their turn were more notably distinct ; tlieir variety 
of colour as well as the contrast of light and shade much 
more definite, and their irregularities more unmistak- 
able. A satellite was approaching the disc, and this 
afforded me an opportunity of realising with especial 
clearness the difference between observation throu<:rh 
seventy or a hundred miles of terrestrial atmosphere 
outside the object glass and observation in space. The 
two discs were perfectly rounded and separately dis- 
cernible until they touched. Moreover, I was able to 
distinguish upon one of the darker bands the disc of 
the satellite itself, while upon a lighter band its round 
blaclv shadow was at the same time perfectly defined. 
This wonderfully clear presentation of one of the most 
interesting of astronomical phenomena so absorbed my 
attention that I watched the satellite and shadow dur- 
ing their whole course, though the former, passing after 
a time on to a light band, became comparatively indis- 
tinct. The moment, however, that the outer edge passed 
off the disc of Jupiter, its outline became perfectly 
visible against the black background of sky. What 
was still more novel was the occultation for some little 
time of a star, apparently of the tenth magnitude, not 
by the planet but by the satellite, almost immediately 
after it passed off the disc of the former. Whether the 
star actually disappeared at once, as if instantaneously 
extinguished, or whether, as I thought at the moment, 
it remained for some tenth of a second partially visible, 
as if refracted by an atmosphere belongmg to the satel- 
lite, I will not venture to say. The bands and rings of 
Saturn, the division between the two latter, and the 
seven satellites, were also perfectly visible, with a dis- 



56 Across the Zodiac. 

tinctness that a much greater magnifying power would 
hardly have attained under terrestrial conditions. I 
was perplexed hy two peculiarities, not, so far as I 
know, liitherto* mentioned hy astronomers. Tlie cir- 
cumference did not appear to present an even curvature. 
I mean that, apart from the polar compression, the shape 
seemed as if the spheroid were irregularly squeezed; 
so that though not broken by projection or indentation, 
the limb did not present the regular quasi-circular 
curvature exhibited in the focus of our telescopes. 
Also, between the inner ring and the planet, with a 
power of 500, I discerned what appeared to be a dark 
purplish ring, semi-transparent, so that through it the 
bright surface of Saturn might be discerned as through 
a veih Mercury shone brightly several degrees outside 
the halo surrounding the Earth's black disc ; and Venus 
was also visible ; but in neither case did my observa- 
tions allow me to ascertain anything that has not been 
already noted by astronomers. The dim form of Uranus 
was better defined than I had previously seen it, but 
no marking of any kind was perceptible. 

Eising from my second, or, so to speak, midday rest, 
and having busied myself for some little time with what 
I may call my household and garden duties, I observed 
the discometer at I7h. (or 5 p.m.). It indicated about 
two hundred terrestrial radii of elevation. I had, of 
course, from the first been falling slightly behind the 
Earth in her orbital motion, and was no longer exactly 
in opposition ; that is to say, a line drawn from the 
Astronaut to the Earth's centre was no longer a pro- 

* In 1830 or thereabouts. — Ed. 



The Unt ravelled Deep. 5 7 

longation of that joining the centres of the Earth and 
Sun. The effect of this divergence was now perceptible. 
The earthly corona was unequal in width, and to the 
westward was very distinctly brightened, while on the 
other side it was narrow and comparatively faint. 
While watching this phenomenon through the lower 
lens, I thought that I could perceive behind or through 
the widest portion of the halo a white light, which at 
first I mistook for one of those scintillations that had of 
late become scarcely discernible. But after a time it 
extended visibly beyond the boundary of the halo itself, 
and I perceived that the edge of the Sun's disc had come 
at last into view. It was but a minute and narrow 
crescent, but was well worth watching. The brighten- 
ing and broadening of the halo at this point I per- 
ceived to be due, not to the Sun's effect upon the 
atmosphere that produced it, but chieflv to the twilight 
now brightening on that limb of the Earth's disc ; or 
rather to the fact that a small portion of that part of the 
Earth's surface, where, if the Sun were not visible, he was 
but a very little below the horizon, had been turned 
towards me. I saw through the telescope first a tiny 
solar crescent of intense brightness, then the halo proper, 
now exceedingly narrow, and then what looked like a 
silver terrestrial crescent, but a mere thread, finer and 
shorter than any that the Moon ever displays even to 
telescopic observers on Earth; since, when such a minute 
portion of her illuminated surface is turned towards the 
Earth, it is utterly extinguished to our eyes by the 
immediate vicinity of the Sun, as was soon the case 
with the terrestrial crescent in question. I watched 
long and with intense interest the gradual change, but 



58 Across the Zodiac. 

I was called away from it by a consideration of no little 
practical moment. I must now be moving at a rate of 
nearly, if not quite, 40,000 miles an hour, or about a 
million miles per diem. It was not my intention, for 
reasons I shall presently explain, ever greatly to exceed 
this rate ; and if I meant to limit myself to a fixed rate 
of speed, it was time to diminish the force of the 
apergic current, as otherwise before its reduction could 
take effect I should have attained an impulse greater 
than I desired, and which could not be conveniently or 
easily diminished when once reached. Quitting, there- 
fore, though reluctantly, my observation of the pheno- 
mena below me, I turned to the apergion, and was 
occupied for some two or three hours in gradually 
reducing the force as measured by the cratometer 
attached to the downward conductor, and measuring 
with extreme care the very minute effect produced upon 
the barycrite and the discometer. Even the difference 
between 200 and 201 radii of elevation or apogaic dis- 
tance was not easily perceptible on either. It took, of 
course, much more minute observation and a much 
longer time to test the effect produced by the regulation 
of the movement, since whether I travelled forty, forty- 
five, or forty-two thousand miles in the course of one 
hour made scarcely any difference in the diameter of 
the Earth's disc, still less, for reasons above given, in the 
gravity. By midnight, liowever, I was satisfied that I had 
not attained quite 1,000,000 miles,or 275 terrestrial radii; 
also that my speed was not greater than 45,000 miles ( 1 1 1- 
radii) per hour, aud M-as not, I thought, increasing. Of 
this last point, however, I could better satisfy myself at the 
end of my four hours' rest, to which I now betook myself. 



The Untravelled Deep. 59 

I woke about 4li. 30m., and on a scrutiny of the in- 
struments, felt satisfied that I was not far out in my 
calculations. A later hour, however, would afford a 
more absolute certainty. I was about to turn again to 
the interesting work of observation through the lens in 
the floor, when my attention was diverted by the sight 
of something like a whitish cloud visible through the 
upper window on my left hand. Examined by the 
telescope, its widest diameter might be at most ten 
degrees. It was faintly luminous, presenting an appear- 
ance very closely resembling that of a star cluster or 
nebula just beyond the power of resolution. As in 
many nebulae, there was a visible concentration in one 
part ; but this did not occupy the centre, but a position 
more resembling that of the nucleus of a small tailless 
comet. The cloudlet might be a distant comet, it might 
be a less distant body of meteors clustering densely in 
some particular part of their orbit ; and, unfortunately, 
I was not likely to solve the problem. Gradually the 
nebula changed its position, but not its form, seeming 
to move downwards and towards the stern of my vessel, 
as if I were passing it without approaching nearer. By 
the time that I was satisfied of this, hunger and even 
faintness warned me that I must not delay preparing 
my breakfast. When I had finished this meal and ful- 
filled some necessary tasks, practical and arithmetical, 
the hand of the chronometer indicated the eighth hour of 
my third day. I turned again somewhat eagerly to the 
discometer, which showed an apparent distance of 360 
terrestrial radii, and consequently a movement which 
had not materially varied from the rate of \\\ radii 
per hour. By this time the diameter of the Earth was 



6o Across the Zodiac. 

not larger in appearance than about 19', less tlian two- 
thirds that of the Sun; and she consequently appeared as 
a black disc covering somewhat more than one-third of 
his entire surface, but by no means concentrical. The 
halo had of course completely disappeared ; but with 
the vernier it was possible to discern a narrow band or 
line of hazy grey around the black limb of the planet. 
She was moving, as seeu from the Astronaut, very 
slightly to the north, and more decidedly, though very 
slowly, to the eastward ; the one motion due to my 
deliberately chosen direction in space, the other to the 
fact that as my orbit enlarged I was falling, though as 
yet slowly, behind her. The sun now shone through 
tlie various windows, and, reflected from tlie walls, 
maintained a continuous daylight within the Astronaut, 
as well diffused as by the atmosphere of Earth, strangely 
contrasting the star-spangled darkness outside. 

At the beginning as at the end of my voyage, I 
steered a distinct course, governed by considerations 
quite different from those which controlled the main 
direction of my voyage. Thus far I had simply risen 
straight from the Earth in a direction somewhat to the 
southward, but on the whole " in opposition," or right 
away from the Sun. So, at the conclusion of my 
journey, I should have to devote some days to a 
gradual descent upon Mars, exactly reversing the 
process of my ascent from the Earth. But between 
these two periods I had comparatively little to do with 
either planet, my course being governed by the Sun, 
and its direction and rate being uniform. I wished 
to reach Mars at the moment of opposition, and during 
the whole of the journey to keep the Earth between 



The Untravelled Deep. 6 1 

myself and the Sun, for a reason which may not at 
first be obvious. The moment of opposition is not 
necessarily that at which Mars is nearest to the Earth, 
but is suflficiently so for practical calculation. At 
that moment, according to the received measurement 
of planetary distances, the two would be more than 40 
millions of miles apart. In the meantime the Earth, 
travelling on an interior or smaller orbit, and also at 
a greater absolute speed, was gaining on Mars. The 
Astronaut, moving at the Earth's rate under an impulse 
derived from the Earth's revolution round the Sun 
(that due to her rotation on her own axis having been 
got rid of, as aforesaid), travelled in an orbit constantly 
widening, so that, while gaining on Mars, I gained on 
him less than did the Earth, and was falling behind 
her. Had I used the apergy only to drive me directly 
outward from the Sun, I should move under the impulse 
derived from the Earth about 1,600,000 miles a day, 
or 72 millions of miles in forty-five days, in the direc- 
tion common to the two planets. The effect of the 
constantly widening orbit would be much as if the 
whole motion took place on one midway between 
those of the Earth and Mars, say 120 millions of miles 
from the Sun. The arc described on this orbit would 
be equivalent to 86 millions of miles on that of Mars. 
The entire arc of his orbit between the point opposite 
to that occupied by the Earth when I started and the 
point of opposition — the entire distance I had to gain 
as measured along his path — was about 116 millions 
of miles ; so that, trusting to the terrestrial impulse 
alone, I should be some 30 millions behindhand at the 
critical moment. The apergic force must make up for 



62 Across the Zodiac. 

this loss of ground, while driving me in a direction, 
so to speak, at right angles M'ith that of the orbit, or 
along its radius, straight outward from the Sun, forty 
odd millions of miles in the same time. If I succeeded 
in this, I should reach the orbit of Mars at the point 
and at the moment of opposition, and should attain 
Mars himself. But in this I might fail, and I should 
then find myself under the sole influence of the Sun's 
attraction ; able indeed to resist it, able gradually to 
steer in any direction away from it, but hardly able 
to overtake a planet that should lie far out of my 
line of advance or retreat, while moving at full speed 
away from me. In order to secure a chance of retreat, 
it was desirable as long as possible to keep the Earth 
between the Astronaut and the Sun ; while steeriucr for 
that point in sjjace where Mars would lie at the 
moment when, as seen from the centre of the Earth, 
he would be most nearly opposite the Sun, — would 
cross the meridian at midnight. It was by these 
considerations that the course I henceforward steered 
was determined. By a very simple calculation, based 
on the familiar principle of the parallelogram of forces. 
I gave to the apergic current a force and direction 
equivalent to a daily motion of about 750,000 miles 
in the orbital, and rather more than a million in the 
radial line. I need hardly observe that it would not 
be to the apergic current alone, but to a combination of 
that current with the orbital impulse received at 
first from the Earth, that my progress and course 
would be due. The latter was the stronger influence ; 
the former only was under my control, but it would 
suffice to determine, as I might from time to time 



The Untravelled Deep. 6 



o 



desire, the resultant of the combination. The only- 
obvious risk of failure lay in the chance that, my cal- 
culations failing or being upset, I might reach the desired 
point too soon or too late. In either case, I should be 
dangerously far from Mars, beyond his orbit or within 
it, at the time when I should come into a line with him 
and the Sun ; or, again, putting the same mischance in 
another form, behind him or before him when I attained 
his orbit. But I trusted to daily observation of his posi- 
tion, and verification of my " dead reckoning " thereby, 
to find out any such danger in time to avert it. 

The displacement of the Earth on the Sun's face 
proved it to be necessary that the apergic current should 
be directed against the latter in order to govern my 
course as I desired, and to recover the ground I had lost 
in respect to the orbital motion. I hoped for a moment 
that this change in the action of the force would settle 
a problem we had never been able to determine. Our 
experiments proved that apergy acts in a straight line 
when once collected in and directed along a conductor, 
and does not radiate, like other forces, from a centre in 
all directions. It is of course this radiation — diffusing 
the effect of light, heat, or gravity over the surface of a 
sphere, which surface is proportionate to the square of 
the radius — that causes these forces to operate with an 
energy inversely proportionate, not to the distance, but 
to its square. We had no reason to think that apergy, 
exempt as it is from this law, would be at all diminished 
by distance ; and this view the rate of acceleration as I 
rose from the Earth had confirmed, and my entire experi- 
ence has satisfied me that it is correct. Xone of our 
experiments, however, had indicated, or could well indi- 



64 Ao'oss the Zodiac. 

cate, at wliat rate this force can travel tlirough space ; 
nor had I yet obtained any light upon this point. From 
the very first the current had been continuous, the only 
interruption taking place when I was not five hundred 
miles from the Earth's surface. Over so small a distance 
as that, the force would move so instantaneously that 
no trace of the interruption would be perceptible in the 
motion of the Astronaut. Even now the total interrup- 
tion of the action of apergy for a considerable time 
would not affect the rate at which I was already mov- 
ing. It was possible, however, that if the current had 
been hitherto wholly intercepted by the Earth, it might 
take so long a time in reaching the Sun that the interval 
between the movement of the helm and the response of 
the Astronaut's course thereto might afford some indica- 
tion of the time occupied by the current in traversing 
the 96J millions of miles which parted me from the Sun. 
My hope, however, was wholly disappointed. I could 
neither be sure that the action was instantaneous, nor 
that it was otherwise. 

At the close of the third day I had gained, as was 
indicated by the instruments, something more than two 
millions of miles in a direct line from the Sun ; and for 
the future I might, and did, reckon on a steady progress 
of about one and a quarter million miles daily under 
the apergic force alone — a gain in a line directly out- 
ward from the Sun of about one million. Henceforward 
I shall not record my observations, except where they 
implied an unexpected or altered result. 

On the sixth day, I perceived another nebula, and 
on this occasion in a more promising direction. It 
appeared, from its gradual movement, to lie almost 



The Untravelled Deep. 65 

exactly in my course, so that if it were what I sus- 
pected, and were not at any great distance from me, 
I must pass either near or through it, and it would 
surely explain what had perplexed and baffled me in 
the case of the former nebula. At this distance the 
nature of the cloudlet was imperceptible to the naked 
eye. The window telescope was not adjustable to an 
object which I could not bring conveniently within the 
field of view of the lenses. In a few hours the nebula 
so changed its form and position, that, being immediately 
over the portion of the roof between the front or bow 
lens and that in the centre of the roof, its central section 
was invisible ; but the extremities of that part which I 
had seen in the first instance through the upper plane 
window of the bow were now clearly visible from the 
upper windows of either side. What had at first been 
a mere greatly elongated oval, with a species of rapidly 
diminishing tail at each extremity, had now become au 
arc spanning no inconsiderable part of the space above 
me, narrowing rapidly as it extended downwards and 
sternwards. Presently it came in view through the 
upper lens, but did not obscure in the least the image 
of the stars which were then visible in the metacompass. 
I very soon ascertained that the cloudlet consisted, as I 
had supposed in the former case, of a multitude of points 
of light less brilliant than the stars, the distance between 
which became constantly wider, but which for some time 
were separately so small as to present no disc that 
any magnifying power at my command could render 
measurable. In the meantime, the extremities visible 
through the other windows were constantly widening 
out till lost in the spangled darkness. By and by, it 

VOL. I. E 



66 Across the Zodiac. 

became impossible with the naked eye to distinguish 
the individual points from the smaller stars ; and shortly 
after this the nearest began to present discs of ap- 
preciable size but somewhat irregular shape. I had 
now no doubt that I was about to pass through one 
of those meteoric rings which our most advanced 
astronomers believe to exist in immense numbers 
throughout space, and to the Earth's contact with or 
approach to which they ascribe the showers of falling 
stars visible in August and November. Ere long, one 
after another of these bodies passed rapidly before 
my sight, at distances varying probably from five yards 
to five thousand miles. Where to test the distance was 
impossible, anything like accurate measurement was 
equally out of the question ; but my opinion is, that the 
diameters of the nearest ranged from ten inches to two 
hundred feet. One only passed so near that its abso- 
lute size could be judged by the marks upon its face. 
This was a rock-like mass, presenting at many places 
on the surface distinct traces of metallic veins or 
blotches, rudely ovoid in form, but with a number of 
broken surfaces, one or two of which reflected the light 
much more brilliantly than others. The weight of this 
one meteoroid was too insignificant as compared with 
that of the Astronaut seriously to disturb my course. 
Fortunately for me, I passed so nearly through the 
centre of the aggregation that its attraction as a whole 
was nearly inoperative. So far as I could judge, the 
meteors in that part of the ring thvough which I 
passed were pretty evenly distributed ; and as from 
the appearance of the first which passed my window 
to the disappearance of the last four hours elapsed, 



The Uiitravc lied Deep. 67 

I conceived tliat the diameter of the congeries, mea- 
sured in the direction of my path, which seemed to 
he nearly in the diameter of their orbit, was about 
180,000 miles, and probably the perpendicular depth 
was about the same. 

I may mention here, though somcAvhat out of place, 
to avoid interrupting the narrative of my descent upon 
Mars, the only interesting incident that occurred during 
the latter days of my journey — the gradual passage of 
the Earth off the face of the Sun, For some little time 
after this the Earth was entirely invisible ; but later, 
looking through the telescope adjusted to the lens on 
that side, I discerned two very minute and bright cres- 
cents, which, from their direction and position, were 
certainly those of the Earth and Moon, indeed could 
hardly be anything else. 

Towards the thirtieth day of my voyage I was dis- 
turbed by the conflicting indications obtained from 
diifferent instruments and separate observations. The 
general result came to this, that the discometer, where 
it should have indicated a distance of 333, actually gave 
347. But if my speed had increased, or I had over- 
estimated the loss by changes of direction, Mars should 
have been larger in equal proportion. This, however, 
was not the case. Supposing my reckoning to be right, 
and I had no reason to think it otherwise, except the 
indication of the discometer, the Sun's disc ought to 
have diminished in the proportion of 95 to 125, whereas 
tlie diminution was in the proportion of 92 to 122. So 
far as the barycrite could be trusted, its very minute 
indications confirmed those of the discometer; and the 
only conclusion I could draw, after much thought and 



68 Across tJie Zodiac. 

many intricate calculations, was that the distance of 95 
millions of miles between the Earth and the Sun, ac- 
cepted, though not very confidently, by all terrestrial 
astronomers, is an over-estimate; and that, consequently, 
all the other distances of the solar system have been 
equally overrated. Mars consequently would be smaller, 
but also his distance considerably less, than I had sup- 
posed. I finally concluded that the solar distance of the 
Earth was less than 92 millions of miles, instead of 
more than 95. This would involve, of course, a propor- 
tionate diminution in the distance I had to traverse, 
while it did not imply an equal error in the reckoning of 
my speed, which had at first been calculated from the 
Earth's disc, and not from that of the Sun. Hence, con- 
tinuing my course unchanged, I should arrive at the 
orbit of Mars some days earlier than intended, and at a 
point behind that occupied by the planet, and yet far- 
ther behind the one I aimed at. Prolonged observation 
and careful calculation had so fully satisfied me of the 
necessity of the corrections in question, that I did not 
hesitate to alter my course accordingly, and to prepare 
for a descent on the thirty-ninth instead of tlie forty- 
first day. I had, of course, to prepare for the descent 
very long before I should come within the direct influ- 
ence of the attraction of Mars. This would not prevail 
over the Sun's attraction till I had come within a little 
more than ico,ooo miles of the surface, and this dis- 
tance would not allow for material reduction of my 
speed, even were I at once to direct the whole force of 
the apergic current against the planet. I estimated 
that arriving within some two millions of miles of him, 
with a speed of 45,000 miles per hour, and then direct- 



The Untravelled Deep. 69 

ing the whole force of the current in his direction, I 
should arrive at his surface at a speed nearly equal to 
that at wliich I had ascended from the Earth. I knew 
that I could spare force enough to make up for any 
miscalculation possible, or at least probable. Of course 
any serious error might be fatal. I was exposed to two 
dangers; perhaps to three: but to none which I had 
not fully estimated before even preparing for my voya<Te. 
If I should fail to come near enough to the goal of mv 
journey, and yet should go on into space, or if, on the 
other hand, I should stop short, the Astronaut might 
become an independent planet, pursuing an orbit nearly 
parallel to that of the Earth ; in which case I should 
perish of starvation. It was conceivable that I might, 
in attempting to avert this fate, fall upon the Sun, 
though this seemed exceedingly improbable, requiring 
a combination of accidents very unlikely to occur. On 
the other hand, I might by possibility attain my point, 
and yet, failing properly to calculate the rate of descent, 
be dashed to pieces upon the surface of Mars. Of this, 
however, I had very little fear, the tremendous power 
of the apergy having been so fully proved that I be- 
lieved that nothing but some disabling accident to my- 
self — such as was hardly to be feared in the absence of 
gravitation, and with the extreme simplicity of the ma- 
chinery I employed — could prevent my being able, when 
I became aware of the danger, to employ in time a suffi- 
cient force to avert it. The first of these perils, then, 
was the graver one, perhaps tlie only grave one, and 
certainly to my imagination it was much the most ter- 
xible. The idea of perishing of want in the infinite 
solitude of space, and being whirled round for ever the 



JO Across the Zodiac. 

(lead denizen of a planet one hundred feet in diameter, 
had in it something even more awful tlian grotesque. 

On the thirty-ninth morning of my voyage, so far as 
I could calculate by the respective direction and size 
of the Sun and of Mars, I was within about 1,900,000 
miles from the latter. I proceeded without hesitation 
to direct the whole force of the current permitted to 
emerge from the apergion directly against the centre of 
tlie planet. His diameter increased with great rapidity, 
till at the end of the lirst day I found myself within 
one million of miles of his surface. His diameter sub- 
tended about 15', .and his disc appeared about one- 
fourth the size of the Moon. Examined through the 
telescope, it presented a very different appearance from 
that either of the Earth or of her satellite. It resembled 
the former in having unmistakably air and water. But, 
unlike the Earth, the greater portion of its surface 
seemed to be land ; and, instead of continents sur- 
rounded by water, it presented a number of separate 
seas, nearly all of them land-locked. Around the snow- 
cap of each pole was a belt of water ; around this, 
again, a broader belt of continuous land ; and outside 
this, forming the northern and southern boundary 
between the arctic and temperate zones, was another 
broader band of water, connected apparently in one or 
two places with the central, or, if one may so call it, 
equatorial sea. South of the latter is the one great 
Martial ocean. The most striking feature of this new 
world, as seen from this point, w'as the existence of 
three enormous gulfs, from tliree to five thousand miles 
in length, and apparently varying in breadth from one 
hundred to seven hundred miles. In the midst of the 



The Untravelled Deep. yi 

principal ocean, but somewhat to tlie soutliward, is a;i 
island of unique appearance. It is roughly circular, 
and, as I perceived in descending, stands very high, its 
table-like summit being some 4000 feet, as I subse- 
quently ascertained, above the sea-level. Its surface, 
however, was perfectly white — scarcely less brilliant, 
consequently, than an equal area of the polar icefields. 
The globe, of course, revolved in some 24I hours of 
earthly time, and, as I descended, presented successively 
every part of its surface to my view. I speak of de- 
scent, but, of course, I was as yet ascending just as 
truly as ever, the Sun being visible through the lens in 
the floor, and reflected upon the mirror of the dis- 
cometer, while Mars was now seen through the upper 
lens, and his image received in the mirror of the meta- 
compass. A noteworthy feature in the meteorology of 
the planet became apparent during the second day of 
the descent. As magnified by the telescope adjusted 
to the upper lens, the distinctions of sea and land dis- 
appeared from the eastern and western limbs of the 
planet; indeed, within 15° or an hour of time from 
either. It was plain, therefore, that those regions in 
which it was late evening or early morning were hidden 
from view ; and, independently of the whitish light re- 
flected from them, there could be little doubt that the 
obscuration was due to clouds or mists. Had the 
whitish light covered the land alone, it might have been 
attributed to a snowfall, or, perhaps, even to a very 
severe hoar frost congealing a dense moisture. But 
this last seemed highly improbable ; and that mist or 
cloud was the true explanation became more and more 
apparent as, with a nearer approach, it became possible 



72 Across the Zodiac. 

to discern dimly a broad expanse of water contrasting 
the orange tinge of the land through this annular veil. 
At 24I1. on the second day of the descent, I was about 
500,000 miles from Mars, the micrometer verifying, by 
the increased angle subtended by the diameter, my cal- 
culated rate of approach. On the next day I was able 
to sleep in security, and to devote my attention to the 
observation of the planet's surface, for at its close I 
should be still 125,000 miles from Mars, and conse- 
quently beyond the distance at which his attraction 
would predominate over that of the Sun. To my great 
surprise, in the course of this day I discerned two small 
discs, one on each side of the planet, moving at a rate 
which rendered measurement impossible, but evidently 
very much smaller than any satellite with which astro- 
nomers are acquainted, and so small that their non-dis- 
covery by terrestrial telescopes was not extraordinary. 
They were evidently very minute, whether ten, twenty, 
or fifty miles in diameter I could not say ; neither of 
them being likely, so far as I could calculate, to come 
at any part of my descent very near the Astronaut, and 
the rapidity of their movement carrying them across the 
field, even with the lowest power of my telescopes, too 
fast for measurement. That they were Martial moons, 
however, there could be no doubt. 

About I oh. on the last day of the descent, the 
effect of Mars' attraction, which had for some time 
so disturbed the position of the Astronaut as to 
take his disc completely out of the field of the meta- 
compass, became decidedly predominant over that of 
the Sun. I had to change the direction of the apergic 
current first to the left-hand conductor, and after- 



The Utitravelled Deep. 73 

wards, as the greater weight of the floor turned the 
Astronaut completely over, bringing the planet imme- 
diately below it, to the downward one. I was, of course, 
approaching Mars on the daylight side, and nearly in 
the centre. This, however, did not exactly suit me. 
During the whole of this day it was impossible that I 
should sleep for a minute; since if at any point I should 
find that I had miscalculated my rate of descent, or 
if any other unforeseen accident should occur, imme- 
diate action would be necessary to prevent a shipwreck, 
which must without doubt be fatal. It was very likely 
that I should be equally unable to sleep during the first 
twenty-four hours of my sojourn upon Mars, more 
especially should he be inhabited, and should my descent 
be observed. It was, therefore, my policy to land at 
some point where the Sun was setting, and to enjoy rest 
during such part of the twelve hours of the Martial 
night as should not be employed in setting my vessel in 
order and preparing to evacuate it. I should have to 
ascertain exactly the pressure of the Martial atmosphere, 
so as not to step too suddenly from a dense into what 
was probably a very light one. If possible, I intended 
to land upon the summit of a mountain, so high as to 
be untenanted and of difficult access. At the same time 
it would not do to choose the highest point of a very 
lofty range, since both the cold and the thinness of the 
air might in such a place be fatal. I wished, of course, 
to leave the Astronaut secure, and, if not out of reach, 
yet not within easy reach ; otherwise it would have been 
a simple matter to watch my opportunity and descend in 
the dark from my first landing-place by the same means 
by which I had made the rest of my voyage. 



74 Across the Zodiac. 

At i8h. I was witliin 8000 miles of the surface, 
and could observe Mars distinctly as a world, and 
no longer as a star. The colour, so remarkable a 
feature in his celestial appearance, was almost equally 
perceptible at this moderate elevation. The seas 
are not so much blue as grey. Masses of land 
reflected a light between yellow and orange, indicat- 
ing, as I thought, that orange must be as much the 
predominant colour of vegetation as green upon 
Earth. As I came still lower, and only parts of the 
disc were visible at once, and these through the side 
and end windows, this conviction was more and more 
strongly impressed upon my mind. What, however, 
was beyond denial was, that if the polar ice and snow 
were not so purely and distinctly white as they appear 
at a distance upon Earth, they were yet to a great extent 
devoid of the yellow tinge that preponderated every- 
where else. The most that could be said was, that 
whereas on Earth the snow is of that white which we 
consider absolute, and call, as such, snow-white, but 
which really has in it a very slight preponderance of 
blue, upon Mars the polar caps are rather cream-white, 
or of that white, so common in our flowers, which has 
in it an equally slight tinge of yellow. On the shore, 
or about twenty miles from the shore of the principal 
sea to the southward of the equator, and but a few 
degrees from the equator itself, I perceived at last a 
point which appeared peculiarly suitable for my descent. 
A very long range of mountains, apparently having an 
average height of about 14,000 feet, with some peaks of 
probably twice or three times that altitude, stretched for 
several hundred miles along the coast, leaving, however, 



TJic Uiztravelled Deep. 75 

between it and the actual shore-line an alluvial plain of 
some twenty to fifty miles across. At the extremity of 
this range, and quite detached from it, stood an isolated 
mountain of peculiar form, which, as I examined it 
through the telescope, appeared to present a surface 
sufficiently broken and sloped to permit of descent ', 
while, at the same time, its height and the character of 
its summit satisfied me that no one was likely to inhabit 
it, and that though I might descend it in a few hours, 
to ascend it on foot from the plain would be a day's 
journey. Towards this I directed my course, looking out 
from time to time carefully for any symptoms of human 
habitation or animal life. I made out by degrees the 
lines of rivers, mountain slopes covered by great forests, 
extensive valleys and plains, seemingly carpeted by a low, 
dense, rich vegetation. But my view being essentially 
of a bird's-eye character, it was only in those parts that 
lay upon my horizon that I could discern clearly the 
height of any object above the general level ; and as 
yet, therefore, there might well be houses and buildings, 
cultivated fields and divisions, which I could not see. 

Before I had satisfied myself whether the planet was 
or was not inhabited, I found myself in a position from 
which its general surface was veiled by the evening 
mist, and directly over the mountain in question, 
within some twelve miles of its summit. This distance 
I descended in the course of a quarter of an hour, and 
landed without a shock about half an hour, so far as I 
could judge, after tlie Sun had disappeared below the 
horizon. The sunset, however, by reason of the mists, 
was totally invisible. 



( 76 ) 



CHAPTER IV. 

A NEW WO K L D. 

I WILL not attempt to express the intensity of the 
mingled emotions wliicli overcame me as I realised the 
complete success of the most stupendous adventure ever 
proposed or even dreamed by man. I don't think that 
any personal vanity, unworthy of the highest lessons I 
had received, had much share in my passionate exulta- 
tion. The conception was not original; the means were 
furnished by others ; the execution depended less on a 
daring and skill, in which any courageous traveller or 
man of science knowing what I knew might well have 
excelled me, than on the direct and manifest favour of 
Providence. But this enterprise, the greatest that man 
had ever attempted, had in itself a charm, a sanctity in 
my eyes that made its accomplishment an unspeakable 
satisfaction. I would have laid down life a dozen times 
not only to achieve it myself, but even to know that it 
had been achieved by others. All that Columbus can 
have felt when he first set foot on a new hemisphere I 
felt in tenfold force as I assured myself that not, as often 
before, in dreams, but in very truth and fact, I had 
traversed forty million miles of space, and landed in a 
new world. Of the perils that might await me I could 
hardly care to think. They might be greater in degree^ 



A Nezv World. 'jy 

they could hardly be other in kind, than those which a 
traveller might incur in Papua, or Central Africa, or in 
the North- West Passage. They could liave none of that 
wholly novel, strange, incalculable character which some- 
times had given to the chances of my etherial voyage 
a vague horror and mystery that appalled imagination. 
For the first time during my journey I could neither 
eat nor sleep ; yet I must do both. I might soon meet 
with difficulties and dangers that would demand all the 
resources of perfect physical and mental condition, with 
heavy calls on the utmost powers of nerve and muscle. 
I forced myself, therefore, to sup and to slumber, resort- 
ing for the first time in many years to the stimulus of 
brandy for the one purpose, and to the aid of authyp- 
notism for the other. "When I woke it was 8h. by my 
chronometer, and, as I inferred, about 5h. after midnight 
of the Martial meridian on which I lay. Sleep had given 
me an appetite for breakfast, and necessary practical 
employment calmed the excitement natural to my situa- 
tion. My first care, after making ready to quit the 
Astronaut as soon as the light around should render it 
safe to venture into scenes so much more utterly strange, 
unfamiliar, and unknown than the wildest of the yet 
unexplored deserts of the Earth, was to ascertain the 
character of the atmosphere which I was presently to 
breathe. Did it contain the oxygen essential to Tellu- 
rian lungs ? Was it, if capable of respiration, dense 
enough to sustain life like mine ? I extracted the plug 
from the tubular aperture through which I had pumped 
in the extra quantity of air that the Astronaut contained; 
and substituted the sliding valve I had arranged for the 
purpose, with a small hole which, by adjustment to the 



78 Across the Zodiac. 

tube, would give the means of regulating the air-passage 
at pleasure. The difficulty of this simple work, and the 
tremendous outward pressure of the air, showed that the 
external atmosphere was very thin indeed. This I had 
anticipated. Gravity on the surface of Mars is less than 
half what it is on Earth ; the total mass of the planet 
is as two to fif leen. It was consequently to be expected 
that the extent of the Martial atmosphere, and its density 
even at the sea-level, would be far less than on the 
heavier planet. Eigging the air-pump securely round 
the aperture, exhausting its chamber, and permitting 
the Martial air to fill it, I was glad to liiid a pressure 
equal to that which prevails at a height of 16,000 feet 
on Earth. Chemical tests showed the presence of oxy- 
gen in somewhat greater proportion than in the purest 
air of terrestrial mountains. It would sustain life, there- 
fore, and without serious injury, if the change from a 
dense to a light atmosphere were not too suddenly made. 
I determined then gradually to diminish the density of 
the internal atmosphere to something not very much 
greater than that outside. For this purpose I unrigged 
tlie air-pump apparatus, and almost, but not quite, 
closed the valve, leaving an aperture about the twen- 
tieth part of an inch in diameter. The silence was 
instantly broken by a whistle the shrillest and loudest 
I had ever heard ; the dense compressed atmosphere of 
the Astronaut rushing out with a force which actually 
created a draught through the whole vessel, to the great 
discomfiture of the birds, which roughed their feathers 
and fluttered about in dismay. The pressure gauge fell 
with astonishing rapidity, despite the minuteness of the 
aperture; and in a few minutes indicated about 24baro- 



A Nciv World, 79 

metrical inches. I then checked the exit of the air for 
a time, while I proceeded to loosen the cement around 
the window by which I had entered, and prepared for my 
exit. Over a very light flannel under- vesture I put on 
a mail-shirt of fine close-woven wire, which had turned 
the edge of Mahratta tulwars, repelled the thrust of a 
Calahrian stiletto, and showed no mark of three carbine 
bullets fired point-blank. Over this I wore a suit of 
grey broadcloth, and a pair of strong boots over woollen 
socks, prepared for cold and damp as well as for the 
heat of a sun shining perpendicularly through an Alpine 
atmosphere, I had nearly equalised the atmospheric 
pressure wuthin and without, at about 17 inches, before 
the first beams of dawn shone upward on the ceiling of 
the Astronaut. A few minutes later I stepped forth on 
the platform, some two hundred yards in circumference, 
whereon the vessel rested. The mist immediately around 
me was fast dispersing ; five hundred feet below it still 
concealed everything. On three sides descent was barred 
by sheer precipices ; on the fourth a steep slope promised 
a practicable path, at least as far as my eye could reach. 
I placed the weaker and smaller of my birds in port- 
able cages, and then commenced my experiment by 
taking out a strong- winged cuckoo and throwing him 
downwards over the precipice. He fell at first almost 
like a stone ; but before he was quite lost to sight in 
the mist, I had the pleasure of seeing that he had spread 
his wings, and was able to sustain himself. As the mist 
was gradually dissolving, I now ventured to begin my 
descent, carrying my bird-cages, and dismissing the 
larger birds, several of which, however, persistently 
clung about me. I had secured on my back an air-gun 



So Across the Zodiac. 

arranged to fire sixteen balls in succession without re- 
loading, while in my belt, scabbarded in a leathern 
sheath, I had placed a well and often tried two-edged 
sword. I found the way practicable, though not easy, 
till I reached a point about looo feet below the summit, 
where farther progress in the same direction was barred 
by an abrupt and impassable cleft some hundred feet 
deep. To the right, however, the mountain side seemed 
to present a safe and sufficiently direct descent. The 
sun was a full hour above the horizon, and the mist was 
almost gone. Still I had seen no signs of animal life, 
save, at some distance and in rapid motion, two or three 
swarms of flying insects, not much resembling any with 
which I was acquainted. The vegetation, mostly small, 
was of a yellowish colour, the flowers generally red, varied 
by occasional examples of dull green and white ; the 
latter, however, presenting that sort of creamy tinge 
which I had remarked in the snow. Here I released 
and dismissed my birds one by one. The stronger and 
more courageous flew away downwards, and soon disap- 
peared ; the weakest, trembling and shivering, evidently 
suffering from the thinness of the atmosphere, hung 
about me or perched upon the cages. 

The scene I now contemplated was exceedingly novel 
and striking. The sky, instead of the brilliant azure of 
a similar latitude on earth, presented to my eye a vault 
of pale green, closely analogous to that olive tint which 
the effect of contrast often throws over a small portion 
of clear sky distinguished among the golden and rose- 
coloured clouds of a sunset in our temperate zones. 
The vapours which still hung around the north-eastern 
and south-eastern horizon, though dispelled from the 



A New World. 8i 

immediate vicinity of the Sun, were tinged with crimson 
and gold much deeper than the tints peculiar to an 
earthly twilight. The Sun himself, when seen by the 
naked eye, was as distinctly golden as our harvest moon ; 
and the whole landscape, terrestrial, aerial, and celestial, 
appeared as if bathed in a golden light, wearing gener- 
ally that warm summer aspect peculiar to Tellurian 
landscapes when seen through glass of a rich yellow 
tint. It was a natural inference from all I saw that 
there takes place in the Martial atmosphere an absorp- 
tion of the blue rays which gives to the sunlight a pre- 
dominant tinge of yellow or orange. The small rocky 
plateau on which I stood, like the whole of the moun- 
tain-side I had descended, faced the extremity of the 
range of which this mountain was an outpost ; and the 
valley which separated them was not from my present 
position visible. I saw that I should have to turn my 
back upon this part of the landscape as I descended 
farther, and therefore took note at this point of the 
aspect it presented. The most prominent object was a 
white peak in the distant sky, rising to a height above 
my actual level, which I estimated conjecturally at 
25,000 feet, guessing the distance at fifty miles. The 
summit was decidedly more angular and pointed, less 
softened in outline by atmospheric influences, than those 
of mountains on Earth. Beyond this in the farthest 
distance appeared two or three peaks still higher, but 
of which, of course, only the summits were visible to 
me. On this side of the central peak an apparently 
continuous double ridge extended to within three miles 
of my station, exceedingly irregular in level, the highest 
elevations being perhaps 20,000, the lowest visible 

VOL. I. F 



82 Across tJie Zodiac. 

depressions 3000 feet above me. Tliere appeared to be 
a line of perpetual snow, though in many places above 
this line patches of yellow appeared, the nearer of which 
were certainly and the more distant must be inferred 
to be covered with a low, close herbaceous vegetation. 
The lower slopes were entirely clothed with yellow or 
reddish foliage. Between the woods and snow-line lay 
extensive pastures or meadows, if they might be so 
called, though 1 saw nothing whatever that at all 
resembled the grass of similar regions on Earth. What- 
ever foliage I saw — as yet I had not passed near any- 
thing that could be called a tree, and very few shrubs 
— consisted distinctly of leaves analogous to those of our 
deciduous trees, chiefly of three shapes : a sort of square 
rounded at the angles, with short projecting fingers ; 
an oval, slightly pointed where it joined the stalk ; and 
lanceolate or sword-like blades of every size, from two 
inches to four feet in length. Nearly all were of a dull 
yellow or copper-red tinge. None were as fine as the 
beech-leaf, none succulent or fleshy ; nothing resem- 
Iding the blades of grass or the bristles of the pine and 
cedar tribes was \'i3ible. 

My path now wound steadily downward at a slope of 
perhaps one in eight along the hillside, obliging me to 
turn my back to the mountains, while my view in front 
was cut off by a sharp cross-jutting ridge immediately 
before me. By the time I turned this, all my birds had 
deserted me, and I was not, I think, more than 2000 
feet from the valley below. Just before reaching this 
point I first caught sight of a Martial animal. A little 
creature, not much bigger than a rabbit, itself of a sort of 
sandy-yellow colour, bounded from among some yellow 



A New World. 83 

herbage by my feet, and hopped or sprang in the manner 
of a kangaroo down the steep slope on my left. When 
I turned the ridge, a wide and quite new landscape burst 
upon my sight. I was looking upon an extensive plain, 
the continuation apparently of a valley of which the 
mountain range formed the southern limit. To the 
southward this plain was bounded by the sea, bathed in 
the pecuKar light I have tried to describe, and lying in 
what seemed from this distance a glassy calm. To east- 
ward and northward the plain extended to the horizon, 
and doubtless far beyond it ; while from the valley north 
of the mountain range emerged a broad river, winding 
through the p)lain till it was lost at the horizon. Plain 
I have called it, but I do not mean to imply that it was 
by any means level. On the contrary, its surface was 
broken by undulations, and here and there by hills, but 
all so much lower than the point on which I stood that 
the general effect was that of an almost flat surface. 
And now the question of habitation, and of human 
habitation, seemed to be solved. Looking through my 
field-glass, I saw, following the windings of the river, 
what must surely be a road ; serving also, perhaps, as 
an embankment, since it was raised many feet above 
the level of the stream. It seemed, too, that the plain 
was cultivated. Everywhere appeared extensive patches, 
each of a single colour, in every tint between deep red and 
yellowish green, and so distinctly rectangular in form as 
irresistibly to suggest the idea of artificial, if not human, 
arrangement. But there were other features of the 
scene that dispelled all doubt upon this point. Immedi- 
ately to the south-eastward, and about twenty miles 
from where I stood, a deep arm of the sea ran up into 



84 Across tJic Zodiac. 

the land, and upon the shores of this lay what was 
unquestionably a city. It had nothing that looked like 
fortifications, and even at this distance I could discern 
that its streets were of remarkable width, with few or 
no buildings so high as mosques, churches. State-offices, 
or palaces in Telhirian cities. Their colours were most 
various and brilliant, as if reflected from metallic sur- 
faces ; and on the waters of the bay itself rode what I 
could not doubt to be ships or rafts. ]\Iore immediately 
beneath me, and scattered at intervals over the entire 
plain, clustering more closely in the vicinity of the city, 
were walled enclosures, and in the centre of each was 
what could hardly be anything but a house, though not 
apparently more than twelve or fourteen feet high, and 
covering a space sufficient for an European or even 
American street or square. Upon the lower slopes of 
the hill whereon I stood were moving figures, which, 
seen through the binocular, proved to be animals ; pro- 
bably domestic animals, since they never ranged very 
far, and presented none of those signs of watchfulness 
and alarm which are peculiar to creatures not protected 
by man from their less destructive enemies, and taught 
to lay aside their dread of man himself. I had descended, 
then, not only into an inhabited world — not only into a 
world of men, who, however they might differ in out- 
ward form, must resemble in their wants, ideas, and 
habits, in short, in mind if not in body, the lords of my 
own planet — but into a civilised world and among a 
race living under a settled order, cultivating the soil, 
and taming the brutes to their service. 

And now, as I came on lower ground, I found at each 
step new objects of curiosity and interest. A tree with 



A New World. 85 

dark-yellowish leaves, taller than most timber trees on 
Earth, bore at the end of drooping twigs large dark -red 
fruits — fruits with a rind something like that of a 
pomegranate, save for the colour and hardness, and 
about the size of a shaddock or melon. One of these, 
just within reach of my hand, I gathered, but found it 
impossible to break the thin, dry rind or shell, without 
the aid of a knife. Having pierced this, a stream of 
red juice gushed out, which had a sweet taste and a 
strong flavour, not unlike the juice expressed from 
cherries, but darker in colour. Dissecting the fruit 
completely, I found it parted by a membrane, essentially 
of the same nature as the rind, but much thinner and 
rather tough than hard, into sixteen segments, like 
those of an orange divided across the middle, each of 
which enclosed a seed. These seeds were all joined 
at the centre, but easily separated. They were of a 
yellow colour and about as large as an almond kernel. 
Some fruits that, being smaller, I concluded to be less 
ripe, were of a reddish-yellow. After walking for 
about a mile through a grove of such trees, always 
tending downwards, I came to another of more varied 
character. The most prevalent tree here was of low^er 
stature and with leaves of great length and compara- 
tively narrow, the fruit of which, though protected by 
a somewhat similar rind, was of rich golden colour, not 
so easily seen among the yellowish leaves, and con- 
tained one solid kernel of about the size of an almond, 
enclosed entirely in a sort of spongy material, very 
palatable to the taste, and resembling more the inside 
of roasted maize than any other familiar vegetable. 
As I emerged entirely from the grove, I came upon a 



86 j-1 cross the Zodiac. 

(litcli about twice as broad as deep. On Earth I cer- 
tainly could not have leaped it ; Lut since landing on 
]\Iars, I had forgotten the weightless life of the Astro- 
naut, and felt as if on Earth, but enjoying great increase 
of strength and energy ; and with these sensations had 
come instinctively an exalted confidence in my phy- 
sical powers. I took, therefore, a vigorous run, and 
leaping with all my strength, landed, somewhat to my 
own surprise, a full yard on the other side of the ditch. 
Having done so, I found myself in what was be- 
yond doubt a cultivated field, producing nothing but 
one crimson-coloured plant, about a foot in height.. 
Tliis carpeted the soil with broad leaves shaped some- 
thing like those of the laurel, and in colour exactly 
resembling a withered laurel leaf, but somewhat thicker, 
more metallic and brighter in appearance, and perfectly 
free from the bitter taste of the bay tribe. ' At a little 
distance I saw half-a-dozen animals somewhat re- 
sembling antelopes, but on a second glance still more 
resembling the fabled unicorn. They were like the 
latter, at all events, in the single particular from which 
it deriA' ed its name : they had one horn, about eight 
inches in length, intensely sharp, smooth and firm in 
texture as ivory, but marbled M'ith vermilion and 
cream white. Their skins were cream-coloured, dappled 
with dark red. Their ears were large and protected by 
a lap which fell down so as to shelter the interior part 
of the organ, but which they had not quite lost the 
power to erect at the approach of a sound that startled 
them. They looked up at me, at first without alarm, 
afterwards with some surprise, and presently bounded 
away ; as if my appearance, at first familiar, had, on a 



A New World. 87 

closer exammation, presented some unusual particulars, 
frightening tliem, as everything unusual frightens even 
those domestic animals on Earth best acquainted with 
man and most accustomed to his caprices. I noticed 
that all were female, and their abnormally large udders 
suggested that they were domestic creatures kept for 
their milk. Xot being able to see a path through the 
field, I went straight forward, endeavouring to trample 
the pasture as little as I could, but being surprised to 
remark how very little the plants had been injured by 
tlie feet of the animals. The leaves had been grazed, 
but the stems were seldom or never broken. In fact, 
the animals seemed to have gathered their food as 
man would do, with 'an intelligent or instinctive care 
not to injure the plant so as to deprive it of the power 
of reproducing their sustenance. 

In another minute I discerned the object of my 
paramount interest, of whose vicinity I had thus far 
seen nearly every imaginable evidence except him- 
self. It was undoubtedly a man, but a man very 
much smaller than myself. His eyes were fixed 
upon the ground as if in reverie, and he did not per- 
ceive me till I had come Avithin fifty yards of him, 
so that I had full time to remark the peculiarities 
of his form and appearance. He was about four feet 
eight or nine inches in height, with legs that seemed 
short in proportion to the length and girth of the body, 
but only because, as was apparent on more careful 
scrutiny, the chest was proportionately both longer and 
wider than in our race ; otherwise he greatly resembled 
the fairer families of the Aryan breed, the Swede or 
German. The yellow hair, unshaven beard, whiskers, 



88 Across the Zodiac. 

and moustache were all close and short. The dress 
consisted of a sort of blouse and short pantaloons, of 
some soft woven fabric, and of a vermilion colour. The 
head was protected from the rays of an equatorial sun 
by a species of light turban, from which hung down a 
short shade or veil sheltering the neck and forehead. 
His bare feet were guarded by sandals of some flexible 
material just covering the toes and bound round the 
ankle by a single thong. He carried no weapon, not 
even a staff', and I therefore felt that there was no 
immediate danger from him. On seeing me he started 
as with intense surprise and not a little alarm, and 
turned to run. Size and length of limb, however, gave 
me immense advantage in tliis respect, and in less than 
a minute I had come up with and laid my hand upon 
him. 

He looked up at me, scanning my face with earnest 
curiosity. I took from my pocket first a jewel of 
very exquisite construction, a butterfly of turquoise, 
pearl, and rubies, set on an emerald branch, upon 
which he looked without admiration or interest, then 
a watch very small and elaborately enamelled and 
jewelled. To the ornament he paid no attention what- 
ever ; but when I opened the watch, its construction 
and movement evidently interested him. Placing it 
in his hands and endeavouring to signify to him by 
signs that he was to retain it, I then held his arm 
and motioned to him to guide me towards the houses 
visible in the distance. This he seemed willing to do, 
but before we had gone many paces he repeated two 
or three times a phrase or word which sounded like 
'•r'mo-ah-el" ("whence- who-what" do you want?). I 



A New World. 89 

shook my head ; but, that he might not suppose me 
dumb, I answered him in Latin. The sound seemed 
to astonish him exceedingly; and as I went on to 
repeat several questions in the same tongue, for the 
purpose of showing him that I could speak and was 
desirous of doing so, I observed that his wonder grew 
deeper and deeper, and was evidently mingled first 
with alarm and afterwards with anger, as if he thought 
I was trying to impose upon him. I pointed to the 
sky, to the summit of the mountain from which I had 
descended, and then along the course by which I had 
come, explaining aloud at the same time the meaning 
of my signs. I thought that he had caught the latter, 
but if so, it only provoked an incredulous indignation, 
contempt of a somewhat angry character being the 
principal expression visible in his countenance. I 
saw that it was of little use to attempt further con- 
versation for the present, and, still holding his hand 
and allowing him to direct me, looked round a^ain at 
the scenes through which we were passing. The lower 
hill slopes before us appeared to be divided into fields 
of large extent, perhaps some 100 acres each, separated 
by ditches. We followed a path about two yards 
broad, raised two or three inches above the level of the 
ground, and paved with some kind of hard concrete. 
Each ditch was crossed by a bridge of planks, in the 
middle of which was a stake or short pole, round which 
we passed with ease, but which would obviously baffle a 
four-footed animal of any size. The crops were of great 
variety, and wonderfully free from weeds. Most of 
them showed fruit of one kind or another, sometimes 
gourd-like globes on the top of upright stalks, some- 



90 Across tJie Zodiac. 

limes clusters of a sort of nut on vines creeping along 
the soil, sometimes a number of pulpy fruits about 
the size of an orange hanging at the end of pendulous 
stalks springing from the top of a stiff reed-like 
stem. One field was bare, its surface of an ochreish 
colour deeper than that of clay, broken and smoothed 
as perfectly as the surface of the most carefully 
tended flower-bed. Across this was ranged a row of 
birds, differing, though where and how I had hardly 
leisure to observe, from the form of any earthly 
fowl, about twice the size of a crow, and with beaks 
apparently at least as powerful but very much longer. 
Extending entirely across the field, they kept line 
with wonderful accuracy, and as they marched across 
it, slowly and constantly dug their beaks into the 
soil as if seeking grubs or worms beneath the sur- 
face. They w^ent on with their M-ork perfectly un- 
disturbed by our presence. In the next field was a 
still odder sight ; here grew gourd-like heads on erect 
reed-like stems, and engaged in plucking the ripe 
]iurple fruit, carefully distinguishing them from the 
scarlet unripened heads, were half-a-score of creatures 
which, from their occupation and demeanour, I took 
at first to be human; but which, as we approached 
nearer, I saw were only about half the size of my com- 
panion, and tliickly covered with hair, with bushy tails, 
which they kept carefully erect so as not to touch the 
ground ; creatures much resembling monkeys in move- 
ment, size, and length, and flexibility of liml), but in 
other respects more like gigantic squirrels. Tliey held 
the stalks of the fruit they plucked in their mouths, 
filling with them large bags left at intervals, and from 



A New World. 91 

the manner in M'liicli they worked I suspected that they 
had no opposable thumbs — that the whole hand had 
to be used like the paw of a squirrel to grasp an object. 
I pointed to these, directing my companion's attention 
.and asking, " What are they ? " " Ambau," he said, 
but apparently without the slightest interest in their 
proceedings. Indeed, the regularity and entire free- 
dom from alarm or vigilance which characterised 
their movements, convinced me that both these and the 
birds we passed were domesticated creatures, whose 
natural instincts had been turned to such account by 
human training. 

After a few moments more, we came in sight of a 
regular road, in a direction nearly at right angles to that 
which followed the course of the river. Like the path, 
it was constructed of a hard polished concrete. It was 
about forty paces broad, and in the centre was a raised 
way about four inches higher than the general surface, 
and occupying about one-fourth of the entire width. 
Along the main way on either side passed from time 
to time with great rapidity light vehicles of shining 
metal, each having three wheels, one small one in front 
and two much larger behind, with box-like seat and 
steering handle ; otherwise resembling nothing so 
much as the velocipedes I have seen ridden for 
amusement by eccentric English youths. It was clear, 
however, that these vehicles were not moved by any 
effort on the part of their drivers, and their speed 
was far greater than that of the swiftest mail-coach : — 
say, from fifteen to thirty miles an hour. All risk of 
collision was avoided, as those proceeding in opposite 
directions took opposite sides of the road, separated 



92 Across the Zodiac. 

by the raised centre I have described. Crossing the 
road with caution, we came upon a number of small 
houses, perhaps twenty feet square, each standing in 
the midst of a garden marked out by a narrow ditch, 
some of them having at either side wings of less 
height and thrown a little backward. In the centre 
of each, and at the end of the wings where these 
existed, was what seemed to be a door of some trans- 
lucent material about twelve feet in height. But I 
observed that these doors were divided by a scarcely 
perceptible line up to six feet from the ground, and 
presently one of these parted, and a figure, closely re- 
sembling that of my guide, came out. 

We had now reached another road which led ap- 
parently towards the larger houses I had seen in 
the distance, and were proceeding along the raised 
central pathway, when some half-dozen persons from 
the cottages followed us. At a call from my guide, 
these, and presently as many more, ran after and 
gathered around us. I turned, took down my air- 
gun from my back, and waving it around me, signalled 
to them to keep back, not choosing to incur the danger 
of a sudden rush, since their bearing, if not plainly 
hostile, was not hospitable or friendly. Thus escorted, 
but not actually assailed, I passed on for three or 
four miles, by which time we were among the larger 
dwellings of M'hich I have spoken. Each of them 
stood in grounds enclosed by walls about eight feet 
high, each of some uniform colour, contrasting agree- 
ably with that chosen for the exterior of the house. 
The enclosures varied in size from about six to sixty 
acres. The houses were for the most part some twelve 



A New World. 93 

feet in height, and from one to four hundred feet square. 
On several flat roofs, guarded by low parapets, other 
persons, all about the size of my guide, now showed 
themselves, all of them interested, and, as it seemed, 
somewhat excited by my appearance. In a few cases 
groups differently dressed, and, from their somewhat 
smaller stature, slighter figures, and the long hair here 
and there visible, probably consisting of women, were 
gathered on a remoter portion of the roof. But these, 
when seen by those in front, were always waived back 
with an impatient or threatening gesture, and instantly 
retired. Presently two or three men more richly 
dressed than my escort, and in various colours, came 
out upon the road. Addressing one of these, I pointed 
again to the sky, and again endeavoured to describe 
my journey, holding out to him at the same time, as 
the thing most likely to conciliate him, a watch some- 
wliat larger than that I had bestowed upon my guide. 
He, however, did not come within arm's length ; and 
when I repeated my signs, he threw back his head 
with a sort of sneer and uttered a few words in a sharp 
tone, at which my escort rushed upon and attempted to 
throw me down. For this, however, I had been long 
prepared, and striking right and left with my air-gun — 
for I was determined not to shed blood except in the 
last extremity — I speedily cleared a circle round me, 
still grasping my guide with tlie left hand, from a 
providential instinct which suggested that his close 
contiguity might in some way protect me. A call 
from the chief of my antagonists was answered from 
the roof of a neighbouring house. I heard a whizzing 
through the air, and presently something like a winged 



94 Across tJie Zodiac. 

serpent, but with a slender neck, and shoulders of con- 
siderable breadth, and a head mucli larger than a 
serpent's in proportion to the body, and shaped more 
like a bird's, with a sharp, short beak, sprang upon 
and coiled round my left arm. That it was trying to 
sting with an erectile organ placed about midway 
between the shoulders and the tail I became instinc- 
tively aware, and presently felt something like a weak 
electric thrill over all my body, while my left hand, 
which was naked, sustained a severe shock, completely 
numbing it for the moment. I caught the beast by 
the neck, and flung him with all my force right in the 
face of my chief antagonist, who fell with a cry of 
terror. Looking in the direction from which this 
dangerous assailant had come, I perceived another in 
the air, and saw that not a moment was to be lost. 
Dropping my gun with the muzzle between my feet, 
and holding it so far as I could with my numbed 
left hand — releasing also my guide, but throwing him 
to the ground as I released him — I drew my sword; and 
but just in time, with the same motion with which I 
drew it, I cut right through the neck of the dragon 
that had been launched against me. My principal 
enemy had quickly recovered his feet and presence of 
mind, and spoke very loudly and at some length to the 
person who had launched the dragons. The latter 
disappeared, and at the same time the group around 
me began to disperse. Whatever suited them was 
certain not to suit me, and accordingly, still holding 
my sword, I caught one of them with each hand. It 
was well I had done so, for within another minute the 
owner of the dragons reappeared with a weapon not 



A New World. 95 

wholly unlike a long cannon of very small bore fixed upon 
a sort of stand. This he levelled at me, and I, seeing 
that a danger of whose magnitude and nature I could 
form no exact estimate was impending, caught up in- 
stinctively one of my prisoners, and held him as a 
shield between myself and the weapon pointed at me. 
This checked my enemy, who for the moment seemed 
almost as much at a loss as myself. Fortunately his 
hostile intention evidently endangered not only my life 
but all near me, and secured me from any close attack. 
At this moment a somewhat remarkable personage 
came to the front of the group which had gathered 
some few yards before me. He wore a long frock of 
emerald green and trousers of the same colour, gathered 
in at the waist by a belt of a red metal. On earth I should 
have taken him for a hale and vigorous gentleman of 
some fifty years ; he was two inches short of five feet, 
but well proportioned as a man of middle size. Gentle- 
man I say emphatically; for something of dignity, gravity, 
and calm good-breeding, was conspicuous in his manner, 
as authority unmixed with menace was evident in his 
tone. He called, somewhat peremptorily as I thought, 
to the man who was still aiming his weapon at my 
head, then waived back those behind him, and presently 
advanced towards me, looking me straight in the eyes 
with a steadiness and intensity of gaze far exceeding, 
both in expressiveness and in effect, the most fixed stare 
of the most successful mesmerists I have known. I 
doubt whether I should have had the power to resist 
his will had I thought it wise to do so. But I was 
perfectly aware that, however successful in repelling the 
first tumultuous attack, prolonged self-defence was hope- 



96 Across tJic Zodiac. 

less. I must, probaLly at the next move, certainly in 
a few minutes, succumb to the enemies around me. I 
could not conciliate those whose malignity I could not 
comprehend. I had done them no injury, and they 
could hardly be maddened by fear, since my size and 
strength did not seem to overawe them save at close 
quarters, and of my weapons they were certainly less 
afraid than I of theirs. My only chance must lie in 
finding favour with an individual protector. AVhen, 
therefore, the new-comer fearlessly laid his hand on an 
arm which could have killed him at a blow, and rather 
by gesture than by force released my captives, policy as 
well as instinct dictated submission. I allowed him to 
disarm and make me in some sense his prisoner without 
a show of resistance. He took me by the left hand, first 
placing my fingers upon his own wrist and then grasp- 
ing mine, and led me quietly through the crowd, which 
gave way before him reluctantly and not without angry 
murmurs, but with a certain awe as before one superior 
either in power or rank. 

Thus he led me for about half a mile, till we reached 
the crystal gate of an enclosure of exceptional size, 
the walls of which, like the gate itself, were of a 
pale rose-colour. Through grounds laid out in sym- 
metrical alternation of orchard and grove, shrubbery, 
close-carpeted field, and garden beds, arranged with 
evident regard to effect in form and colour, as well as 
to fitting distribution of shade and sun, we followed a 
straight path which sloped under a canopy of flowering 
creepers up to the terrace on which stood the house 
itself. There were some eight or nine crystal doors (or 
windows) in the front, and in the centre one somewhat 



A N'ew World. 97 

larger than the others, which, as we came immediately 
in front of it, opened, not turning on hinges, but, like 
every other door I had seen, dividing and sliding rapidly 
into the walls to the right and left. We entered, and 
it immediately closed behind us in the same way. Turn- 
ing my head for a moment, I was surprised to observe 
that, whereas I could see nothing through the door 
from the outside, the scene without was as visible from 
within as through the most perfectly transparent glass. 
The chamber in which I found myself had walls of 
bright emerald green, with all the brilliant transparency 
of the jewel ; their surface broken by bas-reliefs of 
minutely perfect execution, and divided into panels — 
each of which seemed to contain a series of distinct 
scenes, one above the other — by living creepers with 
foliage of bright gold, and flowers sometimes pink, 
sometimes cream-white of great size, both double and 
single ; the former mostly hemispherical and the latter 
commonly shaped as hollow cones or wide shallow 
champagne glasses. In these walls two or three doors 
appeared, reaching from the floor to the roof, which was 
coloured like the walls, and seemingly of the same 
material. Through one of these my guide led me into a 
passage which appeared to run parallel with the front of 
the house, and turning down this, a door again parted 
on the right hand, through which he led me into a 
similar but smaller apartment, some twenty feet in 
width and twenty-five in length. The window — if I 
should so call that wliicli was simply another door — of 
this apartment looked into one corner of a flower- 
garden of great extent, beyond and at each end of which 
were other portions of the dwelling. The walls of this 

VOL. I. G 



98. Across the Zodiac. 

chamber were pink, tlie surface appearing as before of 
jewel-like lustre ; the roof and floor of a green lighter 
than that of the emerald. In two corners were piles of 
innumerable cushions and pillows covered with a most 
delicate satin-like fabric, embroidered with gold, silver, 
and feathers, all soft as eider-down and of all shapes 
and sizes. There were three or four light tables, appa- 
rently of metal, silver, or azure, or golden in colour, in 
various parts of the cliamber, with one or two of different 
form, more like small office-tables or desks. In one of 
the walls was sunk a series of shelves closed by a trans- 
parent sheet of crystal of pale yellow tinge. There were 
three or four movable seats resembling writing or easy- 
chairs, but also of metal, luxurious all though all diffe- 
rent. In the corner to the left, farthest from the inner 
court or peristyle, was a screen, which, as my host 
showed me, concealed a bath and some other convenient 
appurtenances. The bath was a cylinder some live feet 
in depth and about two in diameter, with thin double 
walls, the space between which was filled with an 
apparatus of small pipes. By pressing a spring, as my 
protector pointed out, countless minute jets of warm 
perfumed water were thrown from every part of the 
interior wall, forming the most delicious and perfect 
shower-bath that could well be devised. 

My host then led me to a seat among the cushions, 
and placed himself beside me, looking for some time 
intently and gravely into my face, but with nothing 
of offensive curiosity, still less of menace in his gaze. 
It appeared to me as if he wished to read the character 
and perhaps the thoughts of his guest. The scrutiny 
seemed to satisfy him. He stretched out his left hand. 



A New World. 99 

and grasping mine, placed it on his heart, and then 
dropping my hand, placed his upon my breast. He 
then spoke in words whose meaning I could not guess, 
but the tone sounded to me as that of inquiry. The 
question most likely to be asked concerned my character 
and the place from which I had come. I again ex- 
plained, again pointing upward. He seemed dubious 
or perplexed, and it occurred to me that drawing 
might assist explanation ; since, from the bas-reliefs and 
tracery, it was evident that the art was carried to no 
common excellence in Mars. I drew, therefore, in the 
first place, a globe to represent the Earth, traced its orbit 
round the Sun, and placed a crescent Moon at some little 
distance, indicating its path round the Earth. It was 
evident that my host understood my meaning, the more 
clearly when I marked upon the form of the Earth a 
crescent, such as she would often present through a 
Martial telescope. Sketches in outline roughly exhibit- 
ing different stages of my voyage, from the first ascent 
to the final landing, appeared to convince my host of 
my meaning, if not of my veracity. Signing to me to 
remain where I was, he left the room. In a few minutes 
he returned, accompanied by one of the strange squirrel- 
like animals I had seen in the fields. I was right in 
conjecturing that the creature had no opposable thumb ; 
but a little ingenuity had compensated this so far as 
regarded the power of carrying. A little chain hung 
down from each wrist, and to these was suspended a 
tray, upon which were arranged a variety of fruits and 
what seemed to be small loaves of various materials. 
Breaking one of these and cutting open with a small 
knife, apparently of silver, one of the fruits, my host 



lOO Across tJie Zodiac. 

tasted each and then motioned to me to eat. The 
attendant had placed the tray upon a table, disengaged 
the chains, and disappeared; the door opening and 
closing as he trod, somewhat more heavily than had 
been necessary for my host, upon particular points of 
the floor. 

The food offered me was very delicious and various 
in flavour. ]\Iy host showed me how to cut the top 
from some of the hard-rind fruits, so as to have a cup 
full of the most delicately-flavoured juice, the whole 
pulp having been reduced to a liquid syrup by a pro- 
cess with which some semicivilised ciiltivators on Earth 
are familiar. When I had finished my meal, my host 
whistled, and the attendant, returning, carried away the 
tray. His master gave him at the same time what was 
evidently an order, repeating it twice, and speaking with 
signal clearness of intonation. The little creature bowed 
its head, apparently as a sign of intelligence, and in a 
few minutes returned with what seemed like a pencil or 
stylus and writing materials, and with a large silver-like 
box of very curious form. To one side was affixed a sort 
of mouthpiece, consisting of a truncated cone expand- 
ing into a saucer-shaped bowl. Across the wider and 
outer end of the cone was stretched a membrane or 
diaphragm about three inches in diameter. Into the 
mouth of the bowl, two or three inches from the dia- 
phragm, my host spoke one by one a series of articulate 
but single sounds, beginning with a, a, aa, ait, o, oo, ou, 
u, y or ci (long), i (short), oi, e, which I afterwards found 
to be the twelve vowels of their language. After he had 
thus uttered some forty distinct sounds, he drew from 
the back of the instrument a slip of something like gold- 



A New Wo7dd. loi 

leaf, on wliich as many weird curves and angular figures 
were traced in crimson. Pointing to these in succession, 
he repeated the sounds in order. I made out that the 
figures in question represented the sounds spoken into 
the instrument, and taking out my pencil, marked under 
each the equivalent character of the Eoman alphabet, 
supplemented by some letters not admitted therein but 
borrowed from other Aryan tongues. My host looked 
on with some interest whilst I did this, and bent his 
head as if in approval. Here then was the alphabet 
of the Martial tongue — an alphabet not arbitrary, but 
actually produced by the vocal sounds it represented ! 
The elaborate machinery modifies the rough signs which 
are traced by the mere aerial vibrations ; but each cha- 
racter is a true physical type, a visual image, of the 
spoken sound; the voice, temper, accent, sex, of a 
speaker affect the phonograph, and are recognisable 
in the record. The instrument wrote, so to speak, 
different hands under my voice and under Esmo's ; 
and those who knew him could identify his phonogram, 
as my friends my manuscript. 

After I had been employed for some time in fixing 
these forms and the corresponding sounds in my 
memory, my host advanced to the window, and open- 
ing it, led me into the interior garden; which, as I had 
supposed, was a species of central court around which 
the house was built. 

The construction of the house was at once apparent. 
It consisted of a front portion, divided by the gallery of 
which I have spoken, all the rooms on one side thereof 
looking, like the 'chamber I first entered, into the outer 
enclosure ; those on the other into the interior warden 



I02 Across the Zodiac. 

or peristyle. Beyond the latter was a single row of 
chambers opening upon it, appropriated to the ladies and 
children of the household. The court was roofed over 
with the translucent material of the windows. It was 
about 360 feet in length by 300 in width. At either 
end were chambers entirely formed of the same material 
as the roof, in one of which the various birds and animals 
employed either in domestic service or in agriculture, in 
another the various stores of the household, were kept. 
In front of these, two inclined planes of the same material 
as the walls of the house led up to the several parts of 
the roof. The court was divided by broad concrete 
paths into four gardens. In the centre of each was a 
basin of water and a fountain, above which was a square 
opening of some twenty feet in the roof. Each garden 
was, so to speak, turfed with minute plants, smaller than 
daisy roots, and even more closely covering the soil than 
English lawn grass. These were of different colours — 
emerald, gold, and purple — arranged in bands. This 
turf was broken by a number of beds of all shapes, the 
crescent, circle, and six-rayed star being apparently the 
chief favourites. The smaller of these were severally 
filled with one or two flowers ; in the larger, flowers of 
different colours were set in patterns, generally rising 
from the outside to the centre, and never allowing the 
soil to be seen through a single interval. The contrast 
of colours and tints was admirably ordered ; the size, 
form, and structure of the flowers wonderfully various 
and always exquisitely beautiful. The exact tints of 
silver and gold were frequent and especially favoured. 
At each corner of every garden was a hollow silvery 
pillar, up which creepers with flowers of marvellous size 



A New JP''orld. IC3 

and beauty, and foliage of hues almost as striking as 
those of the flowers, were conducted to form a j)erfect 
arch overhead, parting off the gardens from the walks. 
In each basin were fishes whose brilliancy of colouring 
and beauty of form far surpassed anything I have seen 
in earthly seas or rivers. 

At the meeting of the four cross paths was a wide space 
covered witli a soft woven carpet, upon which were strown 
cushions similar to those in my room. On these several 
ladies were reclining, who rose as the head of the family 
approached. One who seemed by her manner to be the 
mistress, and by her resemblance to some of her younger 
companions the mother, of the family, wore a sort of 
light golden half -helmet on the head, and over this, 
falling round her half-way to the waist, a crimson veil, 
intended apparently to protect her head and neck from 
the sun as much as to conceal them. Her face was par- 
tially uncovered. The dress of all was, except in colour 
and in certain omissions and additions, much the same. 
The under-garments must have been slight in material 
and few in number. Nothing was to be seen of them 
save the sleeves, which were of a delicate substance, 
resembling that of the finest I'arisian kid gloves, but far 
softer and finer. Over all was a robe almost without 
shape, save what it took from the figure to which it 
closely adapted itself, suspended by broad ribbons and 
jewelled clasps from the shoulders, falling nearly to the 
ankles, and gathered in by a zone at the waist. This 
garment left the neck, shoulders, and the upper part of 
the bosom uncovered ; but the veil, whether covering 
the head completely, drawn round all save the face, or 
consisting only of two separate muslin falls behind either 



104 Across the Zodiac. 

ear, was always so arranged as to render the general effect 
far more decorous than the " low dresses " of European 
matrons and maidens. The ankles and feet were entirely 
bare, save for sandals with an embroidered velvety cover- 
ing for the toes, and silver bands clasped round the ankles. 
The eldest lady wore a pale green robe of a fine but very 
light silken-seeming fabric. Three younger ones wore 
a similar material of pink, with silver head-dresses and 
veils hiding everything but the eyes. All these had 
sleeves reaching to the wrist, ending in gloves of the 
same fabric. Two young girls were robed in white 
gauze, with gauze veils attached over either ear to a 
very slight silver coronal ; their arms bare till the sleeve 
of the under-robe appeared, a couple of inches below the 
shoulder; their bright soft faces and their long hair 
(which fell freely down the back, kept in graceful order 
here and there by almost invisible silver clasps or bands) 
were totally uncovered. "A maiden," says the Mar- 
tialist, "may make the most of her charms; a wife's beauty 
is her lord's exclusive right." One of the girls, my host's 
daughters, might almost have veiled her entire form above 
the knees in the masses of rich soft brown hair inherited 
from her father, but mingled with tresses of another 
tinge, shimmering like gold under certain lights. Her 
eyes, of deepest violet, were shaded by dark thick lashes, 
so long that when the lids were closed they traced a 
clear black curve on either cheek. The other maiden 
had, like their mother, and, I believe, like the younger 
matrons, the bright hair — flaxen in early childhood, pale 
gold in maturer years — and the blue or grey eyes char- 
acteristic of the race. My host spoke two or three words 
to the chief of the party, indicating me by a graceful 



A New World. 105 

and courteous wave of the hand, upon which tlic person 
addressed slightly bent her head, laying her hand at the 
same time upon her heart. The others acknowledged 
the introduction by a similar but slighter inclination, 
and all resumed their places as soon as my host, seating 
himself between us, signed to me to occupy some pillows 
which one of the young ladies arranged on his left hand. 
I had observed by this time that the left hand was used 
by preference, as we use the right, for all purposes, and 
therefore was naturally extended in courtesy ; and the 
left side was, for similar reasons, the place of honour. 

Three or four children were playing in another part 
of the court. All, with one exception, were remark- 
ably beautiful and healthy-looking, certainly not less 
graceful in form and movement than the happiest and 
prettiest in our own world. Their tones were soft 
and gentle, and their bearing towards each other notably 
kind and considerate. One unfortunate little creature 
differed from the rest in all respects. It was slightly 
lame, misshapen rather than awkward, and with a face 
that indicated bad health, bad temper, or both. Its 
manner was peevish and fractious, its tones sharp and 
harsh, and its actions rough and hasty. I took it for a 
mother's sickly favourite, deformed in character to com- 
pensate for physical deformity. Watching them for a 
short time, I saw the little creature repeatedly break 
out in all the humours of an ill-tempered, over-indulged 
youngest-born in an ill-managed family ; snatching toys 
from the others, and now and then slapping or pinching 
them. But they never returned either word or blow, 
even when pain or vexation brought the tears to their 
eyes. When its caprices became intolerable most of its 



ic6 Across the Zodiac. 

companions withdrew ; one, however, always remaining 
on the watch, even if driven from tlie immediate neigh- 
bourhood by its intolerably provoking temper, tones, 
and acts. 

Before sunset we were joined by a young man, who, 
first approaching my host with a respectful inclination 
of the head, stood before him till apparently desired by 
a few quiet words to speak ; when he addressed the 
head of the family in some short sentences, and then, 
at a sign from him, turned to two of the squirrel-like 
animals, " ambau," which followed him. These then 
laid at my feet two large baskets, or open bags of golden 
network, containing many of the smaller objects left in 
the Astronaut. Emptying these, they brouglit several 
more, till they had laid before me the whole of my 
wardrobe and my store of intended presents, books, and 
drawings, with such of my instruments as were not at- 
tached to the walls. It was evident that great care had 
been taken not to injure or dismantle the vessel. No- 
thing that actually belonged to it had been taken away, 
and of the articles brought not one had been broken 
or damaged. It was equally evident that there was no 
intention or idea of appropriating them. They were 
brought and handed over to me as a host on Earth 
might send for the baggage of an unexpected guest. 
Of the various toys and ornaments that I had brought 
for the purpose, I offered several of the most precious 
to my host. He accepted one of the smallest and least 
valuable, rather declining to understand than refusing 
the offer of the rest. The bringer did the same. Then 
placing in the chief's hands an open jewel-box contain- 
ing a variety of the choicest jewellery, I requested by 



A New World. 107 

signs bis permission to offer them to the ladies. The elder 
ones imitated his example, and graciously accepted one 
or two tasteful feminine ornaments, of far less beauty 
and value than any of the few splendid jewels that 
adorned their belts and clasped their robes at the 
shoulder, or fastened their veils. The white-robed 
maidens shrank back shyly until the box was pressed 
upon them, when each, at a word from the mistress, 
selected some small gold or silver locket or chain ; each 
at once placing the article accepted about her person, 
with an evident intention of adding to the grace with 
which it was received and acknowledging the intended 
courtesy. How valueless the most valuable of these 
trifles must have been in their eyes I had begun to sus- 
pect from what I saw, and was afterwards made fully 
aware. As the shades of evening fell, the fountains 
ceased to play, the young man pressed electric springs 
which closed the openings in the roof, and, finally, 
turning a small handle, caused a bright light to diffuse 
itself over the whole garden, and through the doors into 
the chambers opening upon it. At the same time a 
warmer air gradually spread throughout the interior of 
the building. A meal was then served in small low 
trays, which was eaten by all of us reclining on our 
cushions ; after which the ladies retired, and my host 
conducted me back to my chamber, and left me to 
repose. 

My books and sketches, as well as the portfolios of 
popular prints which I had selected to assist me in de- 
scribing the life and scenery of our world, were, with 
my wardrobe and other properties, arranged on my 
shelves by the anibau, under the direction of Kevima, 



io8 Across the Zodiac. 

the young gentleman wlio had superintended their re- 
moval and conveyance to his father's house. The port- 
folios gave me occasional means and topics of pleasant 
intercourse with the family of my host, before we could 
converse at ease in their language. The children, 
though never troublesome or importunate, took frequent 
opportunities of stealing into the room to look over the 
prints I produced for their amusement. The ladies 
also, particularly the violet-eyed maiden, who seemed 
to be the especial guardian of the little ones, would 
draw near to look and listen. The latter, though she 
never entered the room or directly addressed me, often 
assisted in explaining my broken sentences to her 
charges, some of them not many years younger than 
herself. I took sincere pleasure in the children's com- 
pany and growing confidence, but they were not the 
less welcome because they drew their sisters to listen 
to my descriptions of an existence so strange and so 
remote in habits and character, as well as in space. 
Perhaps their gentle governess learned more than any 
other member of the family respecting Earth-life, and 
my own adventures by land and water, in air and space. 
For, thougli just not child enough to share the children's 
freedom, she took in all they heard ; she listened in 
silence during our evening gatherings to the conversa- 
tion in which her father and brother encouraged me to 
practise the language I was laboriously studying. She 
had, therefore, double opportunities of acquiring a 
knowledge which seemed to interest her deeply ; natu- 
rally, since it was so absolutely novel, and communi- 
cated by one whose very presence was the most mar- 
vellous of the marvels it attested. How much she 



A New World. 109 

imderstood I could not judge. Except her mother, the 
ladies did not take a direct part in my talk with the 
children, and but very seldom interposed, through my 
host, a shy brief question when the evening brought us 
all together. The maidens, despite their theoretical 
privileges, were even more reserved than their elders, 
and the dark-haired Eveena the most silent and shy 
of all. 

I learned afterwards that the privilege of inter- 
course with the ladies of the household, restricted as it 
was, was wholly exceptional, and even in this family 
was conceded only out of consideration for one who 
could not safely be allowed to leave the house. 



1 lO 



CHArTEE V. 

LANGUAGE, LAWS, AND LLFE. 

Though treated with the greatest kindness and courtesy, 
I soon found reason to understand that I was, at least 
for the present, a prisoner. My host or his son never 
failed to invite me each day to spend some time in the 
outer enclosure, but never intentionally left nie alone 
there. On one occasion, when Kevima had been called 
away and I ventured to walk down towards the gate, my 
host's youngest child, who had been playing on the roof, 
ran after me, and reaching me just as my foot was set 
on the spring that opened the gate or outer door, caught 
me by the hand, and looking up into my face, expressed 
by glance and gesture a negative so unmistakable that 
I thought it expedient at once to comply and return to 
the house. There my time was occupied, for as great a 
part of each day as I could give to such a task with- 
out extreme fatigue, in mastering the language of the 
country. This was a much simpler task than might 
have been supposed. I soon found that, unlike any 
Terrestrial tongue, the language of this people had not 
grown but been made — constructed deliberately on set 
principles, with a view to the greatest possible simplicity 
and the least possible taxation of the memory. There 
were no exceptions or irregularities, and few unnecessary 



Langttage, Laws, and Life. 1 1 1 

distinctions ; while words were so connected and re- 
lated that the mastery of a few simple grammatical 
forms and of a certain number of roots enabled me 
to guess at, and by and by to feel tolerably sure of, 
the meaning of a new word. The verb has six tenses, 
formed by the addition of a consonant to the root, and 
six persons, plural and singular, masculine and feminine. 



Singular. 


Masc. 


Fern. 


Plural. 


Masc. 


Fern. 


I am 


avd 


ava 


We are 


avail, 


avaa 


Thou art 


avo 


avoo 


You are 


avou 


aim 


He or she is 


avy 


ave 


They are 


avoi 


avee 



The terminations are the three pronouns, feminine 
and masculine, singular and plural, each represented by 
one of twelve vowel characters, and declined like nouns. 
When a nominative immediately follows the verb, the 
pronominal suffix is generally dropped, unless required 
by euphony. Thus, " a man strikes " is dak Jdaftas, but 
in the past tense, dahiy hlaftas, the verb without the 
suffix being unpronounceable. The past tense is formed 
by the insertion of n {avnd : " I have been "), the future 
by 7)1 : avmd. The imperative, avsd ; which in the first 
person is used to convey determination or resolve ; 
avsd, spoken in a peremptory tone, meaning " I will be," 
while avso, according to the intonation, means " be " or 
"thou shalt be;" i.e., shalt whether or no. R forms 
the conditional, avrd, and ren the conditional past, 
avrcnd, " I should have been." The need for a passive 
voice is avoided by the simple method of putting the 
pronoun in the accusative ; thus, ddcd signifies " I 
strike," ddcal (me strike) " I am struck." The infini- 
tive is avi ; avyta, "being;" avnyta, "having been;" 
avmyta, " about to be." These are declined like nouns. 



112 Across the Zodiac. 

of which latter there are six forms, the masculine in 
a, 0, and y, the feminine in a, oo, and e; the plurals 
being formed exactly as in the pronominal suffixes of 
the verb. The root-word, without inflexion, alone is 
used where the name is employed in no connection with 
a verb, where in every terrestrial language the nomina- 
tive would be employed. Thus, my guide had named 
the squu-rel-monkeys ambau (sing, amid) ; but the word 
is declined as follows : — 





Singular. 


Plural. 


Nominative 


aiiibas 


ambaus 


Accusative 


ambal 


ambaul 


Dative, to or in 


amban 


ambaun 


Ablative, by or from 


ambam 


ambaum 



The five other forms are declined in the same manner, 
the vowel of the last syllable only differing. Adjectives 
are declined like nouns, but have no comparative or 
superlative degree ; the former being expressed by pre- 
fixing the intensitive syllable ca, the latter, when used 
(which is but seldom) by the prefix da, signifying the 
in an emphatic sense, as his Grace of Wellington is in 
England called The Duke par excellence. Prepositions 
and adverbs end in t or d. 

Each form of the noun has, as a rule, its special re- 
lation to the verb of the same root: thus from ddc, 
"strike," are derived rfaca, "weapon" or "hammer;" 
ddco, a " stroke " or " striking" [as given] both masculine ; 
ddca, " anvil ;" ddcoo, "blow " or " beating " [as received] ; 
and ddke, " a thing beaten," feminine. The sixth form, 
ddJcy, masculine, has in this case no proper signification, 
and not being wanted, is not used. Individual letters 
or syllables are largely employed in combination to 



Langtiagc, Laws, and Life. 113 

,t,'ive new and even contradictory meanings to a root. 
Thus 11, like the Latin in, signifies " penetration," 
'' motion towards," or simply " remaining in a place," 
or, again, " permanence." M, like the Latin ab or ex, 
indicates " motion from." R expresses " uncertainty " 
or "incompleteness," and is employed to convert a state- 
ment into a question, or a relative pronoun into one of 
inquiry. G, like the Greek a or aiiti, generally signifies 
" opposition " or " negation ; " ca is, as aforesaid, inten- 
sitive, and is employed, for example, to convert dji, " to 
lireathe," into cdfi, " to speak." Cr is by itself an inter- 
jection of abhorrence or disgust; in composition it 
indicates detestation or destruction : thus, craky signifies 
" hatred ; " crCivi, " the destruction of life " or " to kill." 
L for the most part indicates passivity, but with different 
effect according to its place in the word. Thus mejyi 
signifies " to rule ; " raepil, " to be ruled ; " melpi, " to 
control one's self ; " tempi, " to obey." The significa- 
tion of roots themselves is modified by a modification 
of the principal vowel or consonant, i.e., by exchangirg 
the original for one closely related. Thus avi, " exist ; " 
dvi, " be," in the positive sense of being this or that ; 
ajl, "live;" dJi, "breathe." ^ is a diminutive; z,'n, 
" with," often abbreviated to zn, " combination," " union." 
Thus znaftau means " those who were brought into life 
together," or " brethren." 

I may add, before I quit this subject, that the Martial 
system of arithmetic differs from ours principally in the 
use of a duodecimal instead of a decimal basis. Figures 
are written on a surface divided into minute squares, 
and the value of a figure, whether it signify so many 
units, dozens, twelve dozens, and so forth, depends upon 

VOL. I. II 



114 Across the Zodiac. 

the square in which it is placed. The central square of 
a line represents the unit's place, and is marked by a 
line drawn above it. Thus a figure answering to our 
I, if placed in the fourth square to the left, represents 
1728. In the third place to the right, counting the 
unit square in both cases, it signifies y-J-j, and so forth. 

In less than a fortnight I had obtained a general idea 
of the language, and was able to read easily the graven 
representations of spoken sound which I have described ; 
and by the end of a month (to use a word which had no 
meaning here) I could speak intelligibly if not freely. 
Only in a language so simple could my own anxiety to 
overcome as soon as possible a fatal obstacle to all in- 
vestigation of this new world, and the diligent and 
patient assistance given by my host or his son for a 
great part of every day, have enabled me to make such 
rapid progress. I had noted even, during the short even- 
ing gatherings when the whole family was assembled, 
the extreme taciturnity of both sexes ; and by the time 
I could make myself understood, I was not surprised to 
learn that the Martials have scarcely the idea of what 
we mean by conversation, not talking for the sake of 
talking, or speaking unless they have something to 
discuss, explain, or communicate. I found, again, that 
a new and much more difficult task, though fortunately 
one not so indispensable, was still in store for me. The 
Martials have two forms of WTiting: the one I have 
described, which is simply a mechanical rendering of 
spoken words into artificially simplified visible signs; 
the other, written by hand, with a fine pencil of some 
chemical material on a prepared surface, textile or 
metallic. The characters of the latter are, like ours, 



Lajiguage, Laws, and Life. 1 15 

wholly iubitraiy; Lut the contractions and abbrevia- 
tions are so numerous tliat the mastery of the mere 
alphabet, the forty or fifty single letters employed, is 
but a single step in the first stage of the hard task 
of learning to read. In no country on Earth, except 
China, is this task half so severe as in Mars. On 
the other hand, when it is once mastered, a far 
superior instrument has been gained ; the Martial 
writing being a most terse but perfectly legible short- 
hand. Every Martial can write at least as quickly as 
he can speak, and can read the written character more 
rapidly than the quickest eye can peruse the best Ter- 
restrial print. Copies, whether of the phonographic or 
stylographic writing, are multiplied with extreme facility 
and perfection. The original, once inscribed in either 
manner upon the above-mentioned tafroo or gold-leaf, is 
placed upon a sheet of a species of linen, smoother than 
paper, called difra. A current of electricity sent through 
the former reproduces the writing exactly upon the latter, 
which has been previously steeped in some chemical com- 
position ; the effect apparently depending on the passage 
of the electricity through the untouched metal, and its 
absolute interception by the ink, if I may so call it, of 
the writing, which bites deeply into the leaf. This pro- 
cess can be repeated almost ad libitum ; and it is equally 
easy to take at any time a fresh copy upon tafroo, whicli 
serves again for the reproduction of any number of difra 
copies. The book, for the convenience of this mode of 
reproduction, consists of a single sheet, generally from 
four to eight inches in breadth and of any length re- 
quired. The writing intended to be thus copied is 
alwnys minute, and is read for the most part through 



1 1 6 Across the Zodiac. 

magnifying spectacles. A roller is attached to each eml 
of the sheet, and when not in use the latter is wound 
round that attached to the conclusion. When required 
for reading, both rollers are fixed in a stand, and 
slowly moved by clockwork, which spreads before the 
eyes of the reader a length of about four inches at once. 
The motion is slackened or quickened at the reader's 
pleasure, and can be stopped altogether, by touching a 
spring. Another means of reproducing, not merely 
writings or drawings, but natural objects, consists in a 
simple adaptation of the camera ohscura. [The only 
essential difference from our photographs being that the 
Martial art reproduces colour as well as outline, I omit 
this description.] 

While I was practising myself in the Martial language 
my host turned our experimental conversations chiefly, if 
not exclusively, upon Terrestrial subjects ; endeavouring 
to learn all that I could convey to him of the physical 
peculiarities of the Earth, of geology, geography, vegeta- 
tion, animal life in all its forms, human existence, laws, 
manners, social and domestic order. Afterwards, when, 
at the end of some fifty days, he found that we could 
converse, if not with ease yet without fear of serious 
misapprehension, he took an early opportunity of ex- 
plaining to me the causes and circumstances of my 
unfriendly reception among his people. 

" Your size and form," he said, " startled and surprised 
them. I gather from what you have told me that on 
Earth there are many nations very imperfectly known to 
one another, with different dress, language, and manners. 
This planet is now inhabited by a single race, all speak- 
in^T the same tongue, using much the same customs, and 



La7igt(age, Laws, and Life. 1 1 7 

differino; from one another in form and size much less 
widely than (I understand) do men upon your Earth. 
There you might have been taken for a visitor from 
some strange and unexplored country. Here it was 
clear that you were not one of our race, and yet it was 
inconceivable what else you could be. We have no 
giants ; the tallest skeleton preserved in our museums 
is scarcely a hand's breadth taller than myself, and does 
not, of course, approach to your stature. Then, as you 
have pointed out, your limbs are longer and your chest 
smaller in proportion to the rest of the body ; probably 
because, as you seem to say, your atmosphere is denser 
than ours, and w^e require ampler lungs to inhale the 
quantity of air necessary at each breath for the oxida- 
tion of the blood. Then you were not dumb, and yet 
affected not to understand our language and to speak a 
different one. No such creature could have existed in 
this planet without having been seen, described, and 
canvassed. You did not, therefore, belong to us. The 
story you told by signs was quickly apprehended, and 
as quickly rejected as an audacious impossibility. It 
was an insult to the intelligence of your hearers, and a 
sufficient ground for suspecting a being of such size and 
physical strength of some evil or dangerous design. The 
mob who first attacked you were probably only per- 
plexed and irritated ; those who subsequently interfered 
may have been animated also by scientific curiosity. 
You would have been well worth anatomisation and 
chemical analysis. Your mail-shirt protected you from 
the shock of the dragon, which was meant to paralyse 
and place you at the mercy of your assailants ; the metal 
distributing the current, and the silken lining resisting 



1 1 8 Ac7'oss the Zodiac. 

its passacje. Still, at the moment when I interposed, 
you would certainly have been destroyed but for your 
manoeuvre of laying hold of two of your immediate 
escort. Our destructive weapons are far superior to 
any you possess or have described. That levelled at 
you by my neighbour would have sent to ten times 
your distance a small ball, which, bursting, would have 
asphyxiated every living thing for several yards around. 
But our laws regarding the use of such weapons are very 
stringent, and your enemy dared not imperil the lives 
of those you held. Those laws would not, he evidently 
thought, apply to yourself, who, as he would have 
affirmed, could not be regarded as a man and an object 
of legal protection." 

He explained the motives and conduct of his country- 
men with such perfect coolness, such absence of surprise 
or indignation, that I felt sliglitly nettled, and answered 
sarcastically, "If the slaughter of strangers whose account 
of themselves appears improbable be so completely a 
matter of course among you, I am at a loss to understand 
your own interference, and the treatment I have received 
from yourself and your family, so utterly opposite in spirit 
as well as in form to that I met from everybody else." 

'' I do not," he answered, " always act from the motives 
in vogue among my fellow-creatures of this planet; but 
why and how I differ from them it might not be well 
to explain. It is for the moment of more consequence 
to tell you why you have been kept in some sense 
a prisoner here. My neighbours, independently of 
general laws, are for certain reasons afraid to do me 
serious wrong. "While in my company or in my dwell- 
ing they could hardly attempt your life without en- 



Langtiage, Laws, and Life. 119 

dangering mine or those of my family. If you were 
seen alone outside my premises, another attempt, 
whether hy the asphyxiator or by a destructive ani- 
mal, would probably be made, and might this time 
prove successful. Till, therefore, the question of your 
humanity and right to the protection of our law is 
decided by those to whom it has been submitted, I will 
beg you not to venture alone beyond the bounds that 
afford you security ; and to believe that in this request, 
as in detaining you perforce heretofore, I am acting 
simply for your own welfare, and not," he added, smil- 
ing, " with a view to secure the first opportunity of 
putting your relation to our race to the tests of the 
dissecting table and the laboratory." 

" But my story explained everything that seemed 
inexplicable ; why was it not believed ? It was assumed 
that I could not belong to Mars ; yet I was a living 
creature in the flesh, and must therefore have come 
from some other planet, as I could hardly be supposed 
to be an inhabitant of space." 

"We don't reason on impossibilities," replied my 
friend. " We have a maxim that it is more probable that 
any number of witnesses should lie, that the senses of 
any number of persons should be deluded, than that a 
miracle should be true ; and by a miracle we mean an 
interruption or violation of the known laws of nature." 

" One eminent terrestrial sceptic," I rejoined, " has said 
the same thing, and masters of the science of probabili- 
ties have supported liis assertion. But a miracle should 
be a violation not merely of the known but of all the 
laws of nature, and until you know all those laws, how 
can you tell what is a miracle ? The lifting of iron by 



I20 Across the Zodiac. 

a magnet — I suppose you have iron and loadstones here 
as we have on Earth — was, to the first man who wit- 
nessed it, just as complete a violation of the law of 
gravity as now appears my voyage through space, 
accomplished by a force bearing some relation to that 
which acts through the magnet." 

" Our philosophers," he answered, " are probably 
satisfied that tliey know nearly all that is to be known 
of natural laws and forces ; and to delusion or illusion 
liuman sense is undeniably liable." 

" If," I said, " you cannot trust your senses, you may 
as well disbelieve in your own existence and in every- 
thing around you, for you know nothing save through 
those senses which are liable to illusion. But we know 
practically that there are limits to illusion. At any 
rate, your maxim leads directly and practically to the 
inference that, since I do not belong to Mars and cannot 
have come from any other world, I am not here, and in 
fact do not exist. Surely it was somewhat illogical to 
shoot an illusion and intend to dissect a spectre ! Is 
not a fact the complete and unanswerable refutation of 
its impossibility ? " 

"A good many facts to which I could testify," he 
replied, " are in this world confessed impossibilities, and 
if my neighbours witnessed them they would pronounce 
them to be either impostures or illusions." 

"Then," said I, somewhat indignantly, "they must 
prefer inferences from facts to facts themselves, and 
the deductions of logic to the evidence of their senses. 
Yet, if that evidence be wanting in certainty, then, since 
no chain can be stronger than its weakest point, infer- 
ences are doubly uncertain; first, because they are 



Language, Laws, and Life. 121 

drawn from facts reported by sense, and, secondly, be- 
cause a flaw in the logic is always possible." 

"Do not repeat that out of doors," he answered, 
smiling. " It is not permitted here to doubt the infalli- 
bility of science; and any one who ventures to affirm 
persistently a story which science pronounces impos- 
sible (like your voyage through space), if he do not fall 
at once a victim to popular piety, would be consigned 
to the worse than living death of life-long confinement 
in a lunatic hospital." 

" In that case I fear very much that I have little 
chance of being put under the protection of your laws, 
since, whatever may be the impression of those who 
have seen me, every one else must inevitably pronounce 
me non-existent; and a nonentity can hardly be the 
subject of legal wrong or have a right to legal redress." 

" Xor," he replied, " can there be any need or any 
right to annihilate that which does not exist. This 
alternative may occupy our Courts of Justice, for aught 
I know, longer than you or I can hope to live. What 
I have asked is that, till these have decided between 
two contradictory absurdities, you shall be provisionally 
and without prejudice considered as a human reality 
and an object of legal protection." 

" And who," I asked, " has authority ad interhii to 
decide this point ? " 

" It was submitted," he answered, " in the first place, 
to the Astynta (captain, president) who governs this 
district ; but, as I expected, he declined to pronounce 
upon it, and referred it to the Mepta (governor) of the 
province. Half-an-hour's argument so bewildered the 
latter that he sent the question immediately to the 



122 Acj'oss tJic Zodiac. 

Zampta (Piegent) of this dominion, and he, after hear- 
ing by telegraph the opening of the case, at once pro- 
nounced that, as affecting the entire planet, it must be 
decided by the Campta or Suzerain. Now this gentle- 
man is impatient of the dogmatism of the philosophers, 
who have tried recently to impose upon him one or two 
new theoretical rules M'hich would limit the amount of 
what he calls free will that he practically enjoys ; and 
as the philosophers are all against you, and as, more- 
over, he has a strong though secret hankering after 
curious phenomena — it would not do to say, after im- 
possibilities — I do not think he will allow you to be 
destroyed, at least till he has seen you." 

" Is it possible," I said, " that even your monarch 
cherishes a belief in the incredible or logically impos- 
sible, and yet escapes the lunatic asylum with which 
you threaten me ? " 

" I should not escape grave consequences were I to 
attribute to him a heresy so detestable," said my host. 
" Even the Campta would not be rash enough to let it 
be said that he doubts the infallibility of science, or of 
public opinion as its exponent. But as it is the worst 
of offences to suggest the existence of that which is 
pronounced impossible or unscientific, the supreme 
autliority can always, in virtue of the enormity of the 
guilt, insist on undertaking himself the executive in- 
vestigation of all such cases ; and generally contrives to 
have the impossibility, if a tangible one, brought into 
the presence either as evidence or as accomplice." 

"Well," I rejoined, after a few minutes' reflection, 
" I don't know that I have much right to complain of 
ideas whicli, after all, are but the logical development 



Language, Lazus, ana Life. 123 

of those which are finding constantly more and more 
favour amontr our most enlightened nations. I can 
quite believe, from what I have seen of our leading 
scientists, tliat in another century it may he dangerous 
in my own country for my descendants to profess 
that beUef in a Creator and a future life which I am 
superstitious enough to prefer to all the revelations of 
all the material sciences." 

"As you value your life and freedom," he replied, 
" don't speak of such a belief here, save to the members 
of my own family, and to those with whom I may tell 
you you are safe. Such ideas were held here, almost 
as generally as you say they now are on Earth, some 
twelve thousand years ago, and twenty thousand years 
ago their profession was compulsory. But for the last 
hundred centuries it has been settled that they are 
utterly fatal to the progress of the race, to enlighten- 
ment, to morality, and to the practical devotion of our 
energies to the business of life ; and they are not merely 
disavowed and denounced, but hated with an earnest- 
ness proportioned to the scientific enthusiasm of classes 
and individuals." 

" But," said I, " if so long, so severely, and so univer- 
sally discountenanced, how can their expression by one 
man here or there be considered perilous ? " 

" Our philosophers say," he replied, " that the attrac- 
tiveness of these ideas to certain minds is such that no 
reasoning, no demonstration of their absurdity, will pre- 
vent their exercising a mischievous influence upon weak, 
and especially upon feminine natures ; and perhaps the 
suspicion that they are still held in secret may contri- 
bute to keep alive the bitterness with which they are 



1 24 Across the Zodiac. 

repudiated and repressed. But if they are so held, if 
there be any who hclieve that the order of the universe 
was at first established, and that its active forces are 
still sustained and governed, by a conscious Intelligence 
— if tliere be those who think that they have proof 
positive of tlie continued existence of human beings after 
death — their secret has been well kept. Tor very many 
centuries have elapsed since the last victim of such 
delusions, as they were solemnly pronounced by public 
vote in the reign of the four-hundredth predecessor of 
the present Campta, was sent as incurable to the dan- 
gerous ward of our strictest hospital for the insane." 

A tone of irony, and at the same time an air of 
guarded reserve, seemed to pervade all my host's remarks 
on this subject, and I perceived that for some reason it 
was so unpleasant to him that courtesy obliged me to 
drop it. I put, therefore, to turn the conversation, some 
questions as to the political organisation of which his 
words had afforded me a glimpse ; and in reply he under- 
took to give me a summary of the political history of his 
planet during the last few hundred generations. 

" If," he said, " in giving you this sketch of the pro- 
cess by which our present social order has been estab- 
lished, I should mention a class or party who have stood 
at certain times distinctly apart from or in opposition 
to the majority, I must, in the first place, beg you to ask 
no questions about them, and in the next not to repeat 
incautiously the little I may tell you, or to show, by 
asking questions of others, what you have heard from 
me." 

I gave my promise frankly, of course, and he then 
gave me the following sketch of Martial history : — 



Language, Lazus, and Life. 125 

"We date events from the union of all races and 
nations in a single State, a union which was formally 
established 13,218 years ago. At that time the large 
majority of the inhabitants of this planet possessed no 
other property than their houses, clothes, and tools, 
their furniture, and a few other trifles. The land was 
owned by fewer than 400,000 proprietors. Those who 
possessed movable wealth may have numbered thrice as 
many. Political and social power was in the hands of 
the owners of property, and of those, generally connected 
with them by birth or marriage, who were at any rate 
not dependent on manual labour for their bread. But 
among these tliere were divisions and factions on various 
questions more or less trivial, none of them approaching 
in importance or interest to the fundamental and irre- 
concilable conflict sure one day to arise between those 
who had accumulated wealth and those who had not. 
To gain their ends in one or another of these frivolous 
quarrels, each party in turn admitted to political 
influence section after section of what you call the 
proletariat ; till in the year 3278 universal suffrage was 
granted, every man and woman over the age of twelve 
years* being entitled to a single and equal vote. 

About the same time the change in opinion of which 
I have spoken had taken general effect, and the vast 
majority of the men, at any rate, had ceased to believe 
in a future life wherein the inequalities and iniquities 
of this might be redressed. It followed that they were 

* The Martial year is 687 of our days, and eight Martial years are 
nearly equivalent to fifteen Terrestrial. Roughly, and in round numbers, 
the time figures given may be multiplied by two to reduce them to 
Terrestrial periods. — Ed. 



126 Across the Zodiac. 

liercely impatient of liardships and sufTering, especially 
such as they thought might be redressed by political 
and social changes. The leaders of the multitude, for 
the most part men belonging to the propertied classes 
who had either wasted their wealth or never possessed 
any, demanded the abolition of private ownership, first 
of land, then of movable wealth; a demand which 
fiercely excited the passions of those who possessed 
neither, and as bitterly provoked the anger and alarm 
of those who did. The struggle raged for some genera- 
tions and ended by an appeal to the sword ; in which, 
since the force of the State was by law in the hands of 
the majority, the intelligent, thrifty, careful owners of 
property with their adherents were signally defeated. 
Universal communism was established in 3412, none 
being permitted to own, or even to claim, the exclusive 
use of any portion of the planet's surface, or of any 
other property except the share of food and clothing 
allotted to him. One only privilege was allowed to 
certain sectaries who still clung to the habits of the 
past, to the permanence and privacy of family life. 
They were permitted to have houses or portions of 
houses to themselves, and to live there on the share of 
the public produce allotted to the several members of 
each household. It had been assumed as matter of 
course by the majority that when every one was forced 
to work there would be more than enough for all ; that 
public spirit, and if necessary coercion, woidd prove as 
effectual stimulants to exertion and industry as interest 
and necessity had done under the system of private 
ownership. 

Those who relied on the refutation of tliis theory 



Language, Laws, and Life. 127 

forgot that witli poor and suffering men who look to no 
future, and acknowledge no law hut such as is created 
hy their own capricious will and pleasure, envy is even 
a more powerful passion than greed. The Many pre- 
ferred that wealth and luxury should be destroyed, 
rather than that they should he the exclusive posses- 
sion of the Few^ The first and most visible effect of 
Communism was the utter disappearance of all perish- 
able luxuries, of all food, clothing, furniture, better 
than that enjoyed by the poorest. Whatever could not 
be produced in quantities sufficient to give each an 
appreciable share was not produced at all. Next, the 
quarrels arising out of the ajDportionment of labour 
were bittter, constant, and savage. Only a grinding 
despotism could compose them, and those who wielded 
such despotism for a short time excited during the 
period of their rule such fierce and universal hatred, 
that they were invariably overturned and almost 
invariably murdered before their very brief legal term 
of office had closed. It was not only that those 
engaged in the same kind of labour quarrelled over 
the task assigned to each, whether allotted in proportion 
to his strength, or to the difficulty of his labour, or by 
lot equally to all. Those to whom the less agreeable 
emplojmients w^ere assigned rebelled or murmured, 
and at last it was necessary to substitute rotation for 
division of labour, since no one would admit that he 
was best fitted for the lower or less agreeable. Of 
course we thus wasted silver tools in doing the work 
of iron, and reduced enormously the general production 
of wealth. Next, it was found that since one man's 
industry or idleness could produce no appreciable 



12$ Aci'oss the Zodiac. 

effect upon tlie general wealth, still less upon the 
particular share assigned to him, every man was as 
idle as the envy and jealousy of his neighbours would 
allow. Finally, as the produce annually diminished 
and the number of mouths to be fed became a serious 
consideration, the parents of many children were 
regarded as public enemies. The entire independence 
of women, as equal citizens, with no recognised relation 
to individual men, was the inevitable outcome, logically 
and practically, of the Communistic principle ; but 
this only made matters worse. Attempts were of 
course made to restrain multiplication by law, but this 
brought about inquisitions so utterly intolerable that 
human nature revolted against them. The sectaries I 
have mentioned — around whom, without adopting or 
even understanding their principles, gradually gathered 
all the better elements of society, every man of in- 
tellect and spirit who had not been murdered, with a 
still larger proportion of women — seceded separately or 
in considerable numbers at once ; established themselves 
in those parts of the planet whose less fertile soil or 
less genial climate had caused them to be abandoned, 
and there organised societies on the old principles of 
private ownership and the permanence of household 
ties. By and by, as they Adsibly prospered, they 
attracted the envy and greed of the Communists. They 
worked under whatever disadvantage could be inflicted 
by climate and soil, but they had a much more than 
countervailing advantage in mutual attachment, in 
freedom from the bitter passions necessarily excited by 
the jealousy and incessant mutual interference insepar- 
able from the Communistic system, and in their escape 



Language, Laws, and Life. 129 

from the caprice and instability of popular government — 
these societies, whether from wisdom or mere reaction, 
submitting to the rule of one or a few chief magistrates 
selected by the natural leaders of each community. 
Moreover, they had not merely the adhesion of all the 
more able, ambitious, and intellectual who seceded from 
a republic in which neither talent nor industry could 
give comfort or advantage, but also the full benefit of 
inventive genius, stimulated by the hope of wealth in 
addition to whatever public spirit the habits of Com- 
munism had not extinguished. They systematically 
encouraged the cultivation of science, which the Com- 
munists had very early put down as a withdrawal of 
energy from the labour due to the community at large. 
They had a monopoly of machinery, of improvement, 
of invention both in agriculture, in manufactures, and in 
self-defence. They devised weapons far more destruc- 
tive than those possessed by the old regime, and still 
more superior to such as, after centuries of anarchy and 
decline, the Communists were able to procure. Finally, 
when assailed by the latter, vast superiority of numbers 
was annulled by immeasurable superiority in weapons 
and in discipline. The secessionists were animated, too, 
by a bitter resentment against their assailants, as the 
authors of the general ruin and of much individual 
suffering; and when the victory was gained, they not 
infrequently improved it to the utter destruction of 
all who had taken part in the attack. Whichever side 
were most to blame in the feud, no quarter was given 
by either. It was an internecine war of numbers, 
ignorance, and anarchy against science and order. On 
both sides there still remained much of the spirit gene- 

VOL. I. I 



130 Across tJic Zodiac, 

rated in times when life was less precious than the 
valour by which alone it could be held, and preserved 
through milder ages by the belief that death was not 
annihilation — enough to give to both parties courage to 
sacrifice their lives for the victory of their cause and 
the destruction of their enemies. But after a few 
crushing defeats, the Communists were compelled to 
sue for peace, and to cede a large part of their richest 
territory. Driven back into their own cliaotic misery, 
deterred by merciless punishment from further invasion 
of their neighbours' dominions, they had leisure to con- 
trast their wretched condition with that of those who 
prospered under the restored system of private owner- 
ship, family interest, strong, orderly, permanent govern- 
ment, material and intellectual civilisation. Machinery 
did for the new State, into which the seceding societies 
were consolidated by the necessity of self-defence, much 
more than it had done before Communism declared war 
on it. The same envy which, if war had been any 
longer possible, would have urged the Communists 
again and again to plunder the wealth that contrasted 
so forcibly their own increasing poverty, now humbled 
them to admire and covet the means which had pro- 
duced it. At last, after bitter intestine struggles, they 
voluntarily submitted to the rule of their rivals, and 
entreated the latter to accept them as subjects and 
pupils. Thus in the 39th century order and property 
were once more established throughout the planet. 

" But, as I have said, what you call religion had alto- 
gether disappeared — had ceased, at least as an avowed 
principle, to aflect the ideas and conduct of society 
or of individuals. The re-establishment of peace and 



Language^ Laws, and Life. 131 

order concentrated men's energies on tlie production 
of material wealth and the acliievement of physical 
comfort and ease. Looking forward to nothing after 
death, they could only make the best of the short life 
permitted to them and do their utmost to lengthen it. 
In the assurance of speedy separation, affection became 
a source of much more anxiety and sorrow than happi- 
ness. All ties being precarious and their endurance 
short, their force became less and less ; till the utmost 
enjoyment of the longest possible life for himself be- 
came the sole, or almost the sole, animating motive, 
the one paramount interest, of each individual. The 
equality which logic had established between the sexes 
dissolved the family tie. It was impossible for law 
to dictate the conditions on which two free and equal 
individuals should live together, merely because they 
differed in sex. AIL the State could do it did ; it in- 
sisted on a provision for the children. But when 
parental affection was extinguished, such provision 
could only be secured by handing over the infant and 
its portion to the guardianship of the State. As chil- 
dren were troublesome and noisy, the practice of giving 
them up to public officers to be brought up in vast 
nurseries regulated on the strictest scientific principles 
became the general rule, and was soon regarded as a duty; 
what was at first almost openly avowed selfishness soon 
justifying and glorifying itself on the ground that the 
children were better off under the care of those whose 
undivided attention was given to them, and in establish- 
ments where everything was regulated with sole regard 
to their welfare, than they could be at home. No law 
compels us to send our children to these establish- 



I ^2 



Across the Zodiac. 



ments. In rare cases a favourite will persuade her 
lord to retain her pet son and make him heir, but both 
the Courts and public opinion discountenance this prac- 
tice. Some families, like my own, systematically retain 
their children and educate them at home; but it is 
generally thought that in doing so we do them a 
wrong, and our neighbours look askance upon so signal 
a deviation from custom ; the more so, perhaps, that 
they half suspect us of dissenting from their views on 
other subjects, on which our opinions do not so directly 
or so obviously affect our conduct, and on which therefore 
we are not so easily convicted of free choice " [heresy]. 

Here I inquired whether the birth and parentage of 
the children sent to the public establishments were 
registered, so as to permit their being reclaimed or in- 
heriting property. 

•' No," he replied. " Inheritance by mere descent is 
a notion no longer favoured. I believe that young 
mothers sometimes, before parting with their children, 
impress upon them some indelible mark by which it 
may be possible hereafter to recognise them ; but 
such recognitions seldom occur. Maternal affection 
is discountenanced as a purely animal instinct, a sur- 
vival from a lower grade of organisation, and does not 
generally outlast a ten years' separation; while paternal 
love is utterly scouted as an absurdity to which even 
the higher animals are not subject. Boys are kept in 
the public establishments until the age of twelve, those 
from ten to twelve being separated from the younger 
ones and passing through the higher education in 
separate colleges. The girls are educated apart till 
they complete their tenth year, and are almost invari- 



Language, Laws, and Life. 



oo 



.ably married in the course of the next. At first, under 
the influence of the theory of sexual equality, both 
received their intellectual instruction in the same 
classes and passed through the same examinations. 
Separation was soon found necessary; but still girls 
passed through the same intellectual training as their 
brothers. Experience, however, showed that this 
would not answer. Those girls who distinguished 
themselves in the examinations were, with scarcely an 
exception, found unattractive as waves and unfit to 
be mothers. A very much larger number, a number 
increasing in every generation, suffered unmistakably 
from the severity of the mental discipline to which 
they were subjected. The advocates of female equality 
made a very hard fight for equal culture ; but the 
physical consequences were perfectly clear and per- 
fectly intolerable. Wlien a point was reached at wliich 
one half the girls of each generation were rendered 
invalids for life, and the other half protected only by 
a dense stupidity or volatile idleness which no school 
punishments could overcome, the Equalists were driven 
from one untenable point to another, and forced at 
last to demand a reduction of the masculine standard 
of education to the level of feminine capacities. Upon 
this ground they took their last stand, and were hope- 
lessly beaten. The reaction was so complete that for 
the last two hundred and forty generations, the 
standard of female education has been lowered to that 
which by general confession ordinary female brains can 
stand without injury to the physique. The practical 
consequences of sexual equality have re-established in 
a more absolute form than ever the principle that the 



134 Across the Zodiac. 

first purpose of female life is marriage and maternity ; 
and that, for their own sakes as for the sake of each 
successive generation, women should he so trained as 
to be attractive wives and mothers of healthy children, 
all other considerations being subordinated to these. 
A certain small number of ladies avail themselves of 
the legal equality they still enjoy, and live in the 
world much as men. But we regard them as third-rate 
men in petticoats, hardly as women at all. ]\Iarriage 
with one of them is the last resource to which a man 
too idle or too foolish to earn his own living will 
betake himself. "Whatever their education, our women 
have always found that such independence as they 
could earn by hard work was less satisfactory than the 
dependence, coupled with assured comfort and ease, 
which they enjoy as the consorts, plajiihings, or slaves 
of the other sex ; and they are only too glad to barter 
their legal equality for the certainty of protection, in- 
dolence, and permanent support." 

" Then your marriages," I said, " arc permanent ? " 
" Not by law," he replied. " Nothing like what our 
remote ancestors called marriage is recognised at all. 
The maidens who come of age each year sell them- 
selves by a sort of auction, those who purchase them 
arranging with the girls themselves the terms on which 
the latter will enter their family. Custom has fixed 
the general conditions which every girl expects, and 
which only the least attractive are forced to forego. 
They are promised a permanent maintenance from 
their master's estate, and promise in return a fixed 
term of marriage. After two or three years they are 
free to rescind the contract ; after ten or twelve they 



Language, Laivs, and Life. 135 

may leave their husbands with a stipulated pension. 
They receive an allowance for dress and so forth pro- 
portionate to their personal attractions or to the fancy 
of the suitor; and of course the richest men can offer 
the best terms, and generally secure the most agreeable 
wives, in whatever number they please or think they 
can without inconvenience support." 

" Then," I said, " the women can divorce thenlselves 
at pleasure, but the men cannot dismiss them ! This 
hardly looks like equality." 

"The practical result," he answered, "is that men 
don't care for a release which would part them from 
complaisant slaves, and that women dare not seek a 
divorce which can only hand them over to another 
master on rather worse terms. When the longer term 
has expired, the latter almost always prefer the servi- 
tude to which they are accustomed to an independent 
life of solitude and friendlessness." 

" And what becomes," I asked, " of the younger men 
who must enter the world without property, without 
parents or protectors ? " 

" We are, after youth has passed, an indolent race. 
We hardly care, as a rule, to cultivate our fields or 
direct our factories ; but prefer devoting the latter half 
at least of our lives to a somewhat easy-going culti- 
vation of that division of science which takes hold of 
our fancy. These di\dsions are such as your conversa- 
tion leads me to think you would probably consider 
absurdly minute. A single class of insects, a single 
family of plants, the habits of one race of fishes, 
suffice for the exclusive study of half a lifetime. 
Minds of a more active or more practical bent will 



136 Across the Zodiac, 

spend an equal time over the construction of a new 
machine more absohitely automatic than any that has 
preceded it. Physical labour is thrown as much as 
possible on the young; and even they are now so 
helped by machinery and by trained animals, that 
the eight hours' work which forms their day's labour 
hardly tires their muscles. Our tastes render us very 
anxious to devolve upon others as soon as possible 
the preserv^ation and development of the property 
we have acquired. A man of moderate means, long 
before he has reached his thirtieth* year, generally 
seeks one assistant ; men of larger fortune may want 
two, five, or ten. These are chosen, as a rule, by pre- 
ference from those who have passed the most stringent 
and successful collegiate examination. Martial parents 
are not prolific, and the mortality in our public nurseries 
is very large. I impute it to moral influences, since the 
chief cause of death is low vitality, marked nervous 
depression and want of animal spirits, such as the total 
absence of personal tenderness and sympathy must pro- 
duce in children. It is popularly ascribed to the over- 
cultivation of the race, as plants and animals highly 
civilised — that is, greatly modified and bred to an arti- 
ficial excellence by human agency — are certainly deli- 
cate, unprolific, and especially difficult to rear. There 
is little disease in the nurseries, but there is little 
health and a deficiency of nervous energy. One fact is 
significant, however interpreted, and bears directly on 
your last question. Since the wide extension of poly- 
gamy, female births are to male about as seven to six ; 

*' Say fifty-sixtli ; in effect, fiftieth. — Narrator. 



Language, Laws, and Life. 137 

but the deaths in public nurseries between the first and 
tenth years are twenty-nine in twelve dozen admissions 
in the stronger sex, and only about ten in the weaker. 
Eead these facts as we may, they ensure employment to 
the young men when their education is completed — the 
two last years of severe study adding somewhat to the 
mortality among them. 

"A large number find employment in superintend- 
ing the property of others. To give them a practical 
interest in its preservation and improvement, they are 
generally, after a shorter or longer probation, adopted 
by their employers as heirs to their estate ; our experi- 
ence of Communism having taught us that immediate 
and obvious self-interest is the only motive that 
certainly and seriously affects human action. The 
distance at which they are kept, and the absolute 
seclusion of our family life, enables us easily to secure 
ourselves against any over-anxiety on their part to 
anticipate their inheritance. The minority who do 
not thus find a regular place in society are employed 
in factories, as artisans, or on the lands belonging to the 
State. To ensure their zeal, the last receive a fixed 
proportion of the produce, or are permitted to rent 
land at fixed rates, and at the end of ten years re- 
ceive a part thereof in full property. By these means 
we are free from all tlie dangers and difficulties of 
that state of society which preceded the Communistic 
cataclysm. "We have poor men, and men who can 
live only by daily labour ; but these have dis- 
sipated their wealth, or are looking forward at no 
very distant period to a sufficient competence. The 
entire population of our planet does not exceed two 



o 



S Across tJic Zodiac. 



ImndreJ millions, and is not much increased from 
generation to generation. The area of cultivable land 
is about ten millions of square miles, and half a square 
mile in these equatorial continents, which alone are at all 
generally inhabited, will, if well cultivated and cared for, 
furnish the largest household with every luxury that 
man's heart can desire. Eight hours' labour in the day 
for ten years of life will secure to the least fortunate 
a reasonable competence ; and an ambitious man, with 
quick intelligence and reasonable industry, may always 
hope to become rich, if he thinks wealth worth the labour 
of invention or of exceptionally troublesome work." 

" ]\Iars ought, then," I said, " to be a material paradise. 
You have attained nearly all that our most advanced 
political economists regard as the perfection of econo- 
mical order — a population nearly stationary, and a soil 
much more than adequate to their support ; a general 
distribution of property, total absence of permanent 
poverty, and freedom from that gnawing anxiety regard- 
ing the future of ourselves or our children which is the 
great evil of life upon Earth and the opprobrium of our 
social arrangements. You have carried out, moreover, 
the doctrines of our most advanced philosophers ; you 
have absolute equality before the law, competitive exa- 
mination among the young for the best start in life, 
with equal chances wherever equality is possible ; and 
again, perfect freedom and full legal equality as regards 
the relations of the sexes. Are your countrymen satis- 
fied with the results ? " 

" Yes," answered my host, " in so far, at least, that 
they have no wish to change them, no idea that any 
great social or political reforms could improve our con- 



Language, Laws, and Life. 139 

dition. Our lesson in Communism has rendered all 
agitation on such matters, all tendency to democratic 
institutions, all appeals to popular passions, utterly 
odious and alarming to us. But that we are happy I 
will venture neither to affirm nor to deny. Physically, 
no doubt, we have great advantages over you, if I 
rightly understand your description of life on Earth. 
We have got rid of old age, and, to a great extent, of 
disease. Many of our scientists persist in the hope to 
get rid of death ; but, since all that has been accom- 
plished in this direction was accomplished some two 
thousand years back, and yet we continue to die, general 
opinion hardly concurs in this hope." 

" How do you mean," I inquired, " that you have got 
rid of old age and of disease ? " 

" "We have," he replied, " learned pretty fully the 
chemistry of life. We have found remedies for that 
hardening of the bones and weakening of the muscles 
which used to be the physical characteristics of declin- 
ing years. Our hair no longer whitens ; our teeth, if 
they decay, are now removed and naturally replaced by 
new ones ; our eyes retain to the last the clearness of 
their sight. A famous physician of five thousand years 
back said in controversy on this subject, that ' the clock 
was not made to go for ever ; ' by which he meant that 
human bodies, like the materials of machines, wore out 
by lapse of time. In his day this was true, since it was 
impossible fully to repair the waste and physical wear 
and tear of the human frame. This is no longer so. 
The clock does not wear out, but it goes more and more 
slowly and irregularly, and stops at last for some 
reason that the most skilful inspection cannot discover. 



140 Aci'oss I he Zodiac. 

The body of liim avIio dies, as we say, 'by efflux of 
time ' at the age of fifty is as perfect as it was at five- 
and twenty.* Yet few men live to be fifty-five,-|- and 
most have ceased to take much interest in practical 
life, or even in science, by forty-five." | 

" That seems strange," I said. " If no foreign body 
gets into the machinery, and the machioery itself does 
not wear out, it is diflicult to understand why the clock 
should cease to go," 

" Would not some of your race," he asked, " explain 
the mystery by suggesting that the human frame is not 
a clock, but contains, and owes its life to, an essence 
beyond the reach of the scalpel, the microscope, and the 
laboratory ? " 

" They hold that it is so. But then it is not the 
soul but the body that is worn out in seventy or eighty 
of the Earth's revolutions." 

"Ay," he said; "but if man were such a duplex 
being, it might be that the wearing out of the body 
was necessary, and had been adapted to release the soul 
when it had completed its appropriate term of service 
in the flesh." 

I could not answer this question, and he did not 
pursue the theme. Presently I inquired, "If you 
allow no appeal to popular feehng or passion, to what 
was I so nearly the victim ? And what is the terrorism 
that makes it daogerous to avow a credulity or incre- 
dulity opposed to received opinion ? " 

* Equivalent in time to uinety-three and forty-seven with us ; in 
effect corresponding to eighty and forty. 

+ About ninety ; in time, one hundred and six. 
X Seventy ; iu time, eighty-three. — Narrator. 



Language, Laws, and Life. 141 

"Scientific controversies," he replied, "enlist our 
strongest and angriest feelings. It is held that only 
wickedness or lunacy can resist the evidence that has 
convinced a vast majority. By arithmetical calcula- 
tion the chances that twelve men are wrong and twelve 
thousand * right, on a matter of inductive or deductive 
proof, are found to amount to what must be taken 
for practical certainty ; and when the twelve still hold 
out, they are regarded as madmen or knaves, and 
treated accordingly by their fellows. If it be thought 
desirable to invoke a legal settlement of the issue, a 
council of all the overseers of our scientific colleges is 
called, and its decision is by law irrevocable and infal- 
lible, especially if ratified by the popular voice. And 
if a majority-vote be worth anything at all, I think 
this modern theory at least as sound as the democratic 
theory of politics which prevailed here before the Com- 
munistic revolution, and which seems by your account 
to be gaining ground on Earth." 

" And what," I inquired, " is your political constitu- 
tion ? What are the powers of your rulers ; and how, 
in the absence of public discussion and popular suf- 
frage, are they practically limited ? " 

"In theory they are unlimited," he answered; "in 
practice they are Kmited by custom, by caution, and, 
above all, by the lack of motives for misrule. The 
authority of each prince over those under him, from 
the Sovereign to the local president or captain, is 
absolute. But the Executive leaves ordinary matters 
of civil or criminal law to the Courts of Justice. Cases 
are tried by trained judges ; the old democratic usage 

* The centuries, hundreds, thousands, &;c., appear to represent 
multiples of twelve, not ten. — Ed. 



14- Across the Zodiac. 

of employing untrained juries having been long ago 
discarded, as a worse superstition than simple decision 
by lot. The lot is right twelve times in two dozen ; 
the jury not oftener than half-a-dozen times. The 
judges don't heat or bias their minds by discussion. 
They hear all tliat can be elicited from parties, accuser, 
accused, and witnesses, and all that skilled advocates 
can say. Then the secretary of the Court draws up a 
summary of the case, each judge takes it home to con- 
sider, each writes out his judgment, which is read by 
the secretary, none but the author knowing whose it is. 
If the majority be live to two, judgment is given ; if 
less, the case is tried again before a higher tribunal of 
twice as many judges. If no decision can be reached, 
the accused is acquitted for the time, or, in a civil 
dispute, a compromise is imposed. The rulers cannot, 
without incurring such general anger as would be fatal 
to their power, disregard our fundamental laws. Gross 
tyranny to individuals is too dangerous to be carried 
far. It is a capital crime for any but the officers of 
the Sovereign and of the twelve liegents to possess the 
fearfully destructive weapons that brought our last 
wars to an end. But any man, driven to desperation, 
can construct and use similar weapons so easily that 
no ruler will drive a man to such revengeful despair. 
Again, the tyranny of subordinate officials would be 
checked by their chief, who would be angry at being 
troubled and endangered by misconduct in which he 
had no direct interest. And finally, personal malice 
is not a strong passion among us; and our manners 
render it unlilccly that a ruler should come into such 
collision with any of his subjects as would engender 



Language^ Laius, and Life. 143 

such a feeling. Of those immediately about him, he 
can and does at once get rid as soon as he begins to 
dislike, and before he has cause to hate them. It is 
our maxim that greed of wealth or lust of power are 
the chief motives of tyranny. Our rulers cannot well 
hope to extend a power already autocratic, and we 
take care to leave them nothing to covet in the way of 
wealth. We can afford to give them all that they can 
desire of luxury and splendour. To enrich to the utter- 
most a few dozen governors costs us nothing compar- 
able to the cost of democracy, with its inseparable party 
conflicts, maladministration, neglect, and confusion." 

"A clever writer on Earth lately remarked that it 
would be easy to satiate princes with all personal en- 
joyments, but impossible to satiate all their hangers-on, 
or even all the members of their family." 

"You must remember," he replied, "that we have 
here, save in such exceptional cases as my own, nothinf^ 
like what you call a family. The ladies of a prince's 
house have everything they can wish for within their 
bounds and cannot go outside of these. As for depen- 
dents, no man here, at least of such as are likely to be 
rulers, cares for his nearest "and dearest friends enouo-h 
to incur personal peril, public displeasure, or private 
resentment on their account. The officials around a 
ruler's person are few in number, so that we can afford 
to make their places too comfortable and too valuable 
to be lightly risked. Neglect, again, is pretty sure to 
be punished by superior authority. Activity in the 
promotion of public objects is the only interest left to 
princes, while tyranny is, for the reasons I have given, 
too dangerous to be carried far." 



( 144 ) 



CHAPTEE VI. 

AN OFFICIAL VISIT. 

At this point of our conversation an amba entered 
the room and made certain signs which my host imme- 
diately understood. 

"The Zampta," he said, "has called upon me, evi- 
dently on your account, and probably with some mes- 
sage from his Suzerain. You need not be afraid," he 
added, " At worst they would only refuse you protec- 
tion, and I could secure you from danger under my own 
roof, and in the last extremity effect your retreat and 
return to your own planet ; supposing for a moment," 
he added, smiling, " that you are a real being and come 
from a real world." 

The Eegent of that dominion, the only Martialist out- 
side my host's family with whom I had yet been able 
to converse, awaited us in the hall or entrance chamber. 
I bowed low to him, and then remained standing. ]\Iy 
host, also saluting his visitor, at once took his seat. The 
Eegent, returning the salute and seating himself, pro- 
ceeded to address us ; very little ceremony on either side 
being observed between this autocratic deputy of an 
absolute Sovereign and his subjects. 

" Esmo dent Ecasfcn" said the Eegent, " will you point 
out the person you declare yourself to have rescued from 



All Official Visit. 145 

assault and received into your house on the 431st day 
of this year ? " 

" That is the person, Eegent," said my host, pointing 
to me. 

The visitor then asked my name, which I gave, and 
addressing me thereby, he continued — 

" The Campta has requested me to ascertain the trutli 
regarding your alleged size, so far exceeding anything 
hitherto known among us. You will permit me, there- 
fore, to measure your height and girth." 

I bowed, and he proceeded to ascertain that I was 
about a foot taller and some ten inches larger round the 
waist than himself. Of these facts he took note, and 
then proceeded — 

" The signs you made to those who first encountered 
you were understood to mean that you descended from 
the sky, in a vessel which is now left on the summit of 
yonder mountain, Asnyca." 

" I did not descend from the sky," I replied, " for the 
sky is, as we both know, no actual vault or boundary of 
the atmospheric depths. I ascended from a world nearer 
to the Sun, and after travelling for forty days through 
space, landed upon this planet in the vessel you men- 
tion." 

" I am directed," he answered, " to see this vessel, to 
inspect your machinery and instruments, and to report 
thereon to the Suzerain. You will doubtless be ready 
to accompany me thither to-morrow two hours after sun- 
rise. You may be accompanied, if you please, by your 
host or any members of his family ; I shall be attended 
by one or more of my officers. In the meantime I am 
to inform you that, until my report has been received 

VOL. I. K 



146 Across the Zodiac. 

and considered, you are under the protection of the law, 
and need not apprehend any molestation of the kind 
you incurred at first. You will not, however, repeat to 
any one but myself the explanation you have offered of 
your appearance — which, I understand, has been given 
in fuller detail to Esmo — until the decision of the 
Campta shall have been communicated to you." 

I simply bowed my assent ; and after this brief but 
sufficient fulfilment of the purpose for which he had 
called, the Eegent took his leave. 

" What," I asked, when we re-entered my chamber, 
" is the meaning of the title by which the Eegent ad- 
dressed you ? " 

" In speaking to officials," he replied, " of rank so high 
as his, it is customary to address them simply by their 
titles, unless more than one of the same rank be present, 
in which case we call them, as we do inferior officials, by 
their name with the title appended. For instance, in 
the Court of the Sovereign our Eegent would be called 
Endo Zampta. Men of a certain age and social position, 
but having no office, are addressed by their name and 
that of their residence ; and, asfe meaning a town or 
dwelling, usage gives me the name of Esmo, in or of 
the town of Eca. 

" I am sorry," he went on, " that neither my son nor 
myself can accompany you to-morrow. All the elder 
members of my family are engaged to attend at some 
distance hence before the hour at which you can return. 
Eut I should not like you to be alone with strangers ; 
and, independently of this consideration, I should per- 
haps have asked of you a somewhat unusual favour. 
My daughter Eveena, who, like most of our women " 



All Official Visit. 147 

(he laid a special empliasis on the pronoun) " has re- 
ceived a better education than is now given in the public 
academies, has been from the first greatly interested in 
your narrative and in all you have told us of the world 
from which you come. She is anxious to see your 
vessel, and I had hoped to take her when I meant to 
visit it in your company. But after to-morrow I cannot 
tell when you may be summoned to visit the Campta, 
or whether after that visit you are likely to return 
hither. I will ask you, therefore, if you do not object 
to what I confess is an unusual proceeding, to take 
Eveena under your charge to-morrow." 

" Is it," I inquired, " permissible for a young lady to 
accompany a stranger on such an excursion ? " 

" It is very unusual," returned my host ; " but you 
must observe that here family ties are, as a rule, un- 
known. It cannot be usual for a maiden to be attended 
by father or brother, since she knows neither. It is 
only by a husband that a girl can, as a rule, be attended 
abroad. Our usages render such attendance exceed- 
ingly close, and, on the other hand, forbid strangers to 
interrupt or take notice thereof. In Eveena's presence 
the Eegent will find it difficult to draw you into con- 
versation which might be inconvenient or dangerous ; 
and especially cannot attempt to gratify, by questioning 
you, any curiosity as to myself or my family." 

" But," I said, " from what you say, it seems that the 
Regent and any one who might accompany him would 
draw inferences wliich might not be agreeable to you or 
to the young lady." 

" I hardly understand you," he replied. " The only 
conjecture they could make, which they will certainly 



148 Across tJie Zodiac. 

make, is that you are, or are about to Lo, married to her ; 
and as they will never see her again, and, if tliey did, 
could not recognise her — as they will not to-morrow 
know anjiihing save that she belongs to my household, 
and certainly will not speak to her — I do not see how 
their inference can affect her. When I part witli 
her, it will be to some one of my own customs and 
opinions ; and to us this close confinement of girls 
appears to transcend reasonable restraint, as it contra- 
dicts the theoretical freedom and equality granted by 
law to the sex, but utterly withheld by the social usages 
which have grown out of that law." 

" I can only thank you for giving me a companion 
more agreeable tlian the official who is to report upon 
my reality," I said. 

" I do not desire," he continued, " to bind you to any 
reserve in replying to questions, beyond what I am sure 
you will do without a pledge — namely, to avoid betray- 
ing more than you can help of that which is not known 
outside my own household. But on this subject I may 
be able to speak more fully after to-morrow. Now, if 
you will come into the peristyle, we shall be in time 
for the evening meal." 

Eveena's curiosity had in nowise overcome her silent 
shyness. She might possibly have completed her tenth 
year, which epoch in the life of Mars is about equivalent 
to the seventeenth birthday of a damsel nurtured in 
North-Western Europe. I hardly think that I had ad- 
dressed her directly half-a-dozen times, or had received 
from her a dozen words in return. I had been attracted, 
nevertheless; not only by her grace and beauty, but by 
the peculiar sweetness of her voice and the gentleness 



An Official Visit. 149 

of her manner and bearing when engaged in pacifying 
dispute or diiiiculty among the children, and particularly 
in dealing with the half-deformed spoilt infant of which 
I have spoken. This evening that little brat was more 
than usually exasperating, and having exhausted the 
patience or repelled the company of all the rest, found 
itself alone, and set up a fretful, continuous scream, dis- 
agreeable even to me, and torturing to Martial ears, 
which, adapted to hear in that thin air, are painfully 
alive to strident, harsh, or even loud sounds. Instantly 
obeying a sign from her mother, Eveena rose in the 
middle of a conversation to which she had listened 
with evident interest, and devoted herself for half-an- 
hour to please and pacify this uncomfortable child. 
The character and appearance of this infant, so utterly 
unlike all its companions, had already excited my 
curiosity, but I had found no opportunity of asking 
a question without risking an impertinence. On this 
occasion, however, I ventured to make some remark on 
the extreme gentleness and forbearance with which not 
only Eveena but the children treated their peevish and 
exacting brother. 

" He is no brother of theirs," said Zulve, the mistress 
of the house. " You would hardly find in any family 
like ours a child with so irritable a temper or a disposi- 
tion so selfish, and nowhere a creature so hardly treated 
by Nature in body as well as mind." 

" Indeed," I said, hardly understanding her answer. 

"No," said my host. "It is the rule to deprive of 
life, promptly and painlessly, children to whom, from 
physical deformity or defect, life is thouglit unlikely to 
be pleasant, and whose descendants might be a burden 



150 Across tlic Zodiac. 

to the public and a cause of physical deterioration to 
the race. It is, however, one of the exceptional tenets 
to which I have been obliged to allude, that man should 
not seek to be wiser than Nature ; and that life should 
neither be cut short, except as a punishment for great 
crimes, nor prolonged artificially contrary to the mani- 
fest intention, or, as our philosophers would say, the 
common course of Nature. Those who tliink with me, 
therefore, always endeavour, when we hear in time of 
their approaching fate, to preserve children so doomed. 
Precautions against undue haste or readiness to destroy 
lives that might, after all, grow up to health and vigour 
are provided by law. No single physician or physio- 
logist can sign a death-warrant ; and I, though no longer 
a physician by craft, am among the arbiters, one or more 
of whom must be called in to approve or suspend the 
decision. On these occasions I have rescued from ex- 
tinction several children of whose unfitness to live, 
according to the standard of the State Nurseries, there 
was no question, and placed them in families, mostly 
childless, that were willing to receive them. Of this 
one it was our turn to take charge ; and certainly liis 
chance is better for being brought up among other 
children, and under the influence of their gentler dis- 
positions and less exacting temperaments." 

" And is such ill-temper and selfishness," I asked, 
" generally found among the deformed ? " 

" I don't think," replied Esmo, " that this child is 
much worse than most of my neighbours' children, ex- 
cept that physical discomfort makes him fretful. What 
you call selfishness in him is only the natural inherit- 
ance derived from an ancestry who for some hundred 



An Official Visit. 151 

generations have certainly never cared for anything or 
any one but themselves. I thought I had explained to 
you by what train of circumstances and of reasoning 
family affection, such as it is reputed to have been 
thousands of years ago, has become extinct in this 
planet ; and, family affection extinguished, all weaker 
sentiments of regard for others were very quickly 
withered up." 

" You told me something of the kind," I said ; " but 
the idea of a life so utterly swallowed up in self that no 
one even thinks it necessary to affect regard for and 
interest in others, was to me so unintelligible and incon- 
ceivable that I did not realise the full meaning of your 
account. Nor even now do I understand how a society 
formed of such members can be held together. On 
Earth we should expect them either to tear one another 
to pieces, or to relapse into isolation and barbarism 
lower than that of the lowest tribe which preserves 
social instincts and social organisation. A society com- 
posed of men resembling that child, but with the in- 
telligence, force, and consistent purpose of manhood, 
would, I should have thought, be little better than a 
congregation of beasts of prey." 

" We have such beasts," said Esmo, " in the wild 
lands, and they are certainly unsociable and solitary. 
But men, at least civilised men, are governed not only 
by instinct but by interest, and the interest of each 
individual in the preservation of social co-operation and 
social order is very evident and very powerful. Experi- 
ence and school discipline cure children of the habit of 
indulging mere temper and spite before they come to be 
men, and tliey are taught by practice as well as by pre- 



1 5 2 Across the Zodiac, 

cept the absolute necessity of co-operation. Egotism, 
therefore, has no tendency to dissolve society as a mere 
organisation, though it has utterly destroyed society as 
a source of pleasure." 

" Does your law," I asked, " confine the principle of 
euthanasia to infants, or do you put out of the world 
adults whose life is supposed, for one reason or another, 
to he useless and joyless ? " 

"Only," he answered, "in the case of the insane. 
"When the doctors are satisfied that a lunatic cannot be 
cured, an inquest is held ; and if the medical verdict be 
approved, he is quietly and painlessly dismissed from 
existence. Logically, of course, the same principle 
should be applied to all incurable disease ; and I sus- 
pect — indeed I know — that it is applied when the house- 
liold have become wear}', and the patient is utterly 
unable to protect himself or appeal to the law. But 
the general application of the principle has been suc- 
cessfully resisted, on the ground that the terror it would 
cause, the constant anxiety and alarm in which men 
would live if the right of judging when life had become 
worthless to them were left to others, would far out- 
weigh any benefit which might be derived from the 
legalised extinction of existences which had become a 
prolonged misery ; and such cases, as I have told you, are 
very rare among us. A case of hopeless bodily suffering, 
not terminating very speedily in death, doesnot occur thrice 
a year among tlie whole population of the planet, except 
through accident. We have means of curing at the 
outset almost all of those diseases which the observance 
for hundreds of generations of sound physical conditions 
of life has not extirpated ; and in the worst instances 



An Official Visit. 153 

our ana3Stlietics seldom fail to extinguish the sense of 
pain without impairing intellect. Of course, any one 
who is tired of his life is at liberty to put an end to 
it, and any one else may assist him. But, though the 
clinging to existence is perhaps the most irrational of 
all those purely animal instincts on emancipation from 
which we pride ourselves, it is the strongest and the 
most lasting. The life of most of my countrymen 
would be to me intolerable weariness, if only from the 
utter want, after wealth is attained, of all warmer and 
less isolated interest than some one pet scientific pur- 
suit can afford ; and yet more from the total absence of 
affection, family duties, and the various mental occupa- 
tions which interest in others affords. But though the 
question whether life is worth living has long ago been 
settled among us in the negative, suicide, the logical 
outcome of that conviction, is the rarest of all the 
methods by which life is terminated." 

" Wliich seems to show that even in Mars logic does 
not always dominate life and prevail over instinct. 
But what is the most usual cause of death, where 
neither disease nor senility are other than rare excep- 
tions ? " 

" Efflux of time," Esmo replied with an ironical smile. 
" That is the chief fatal disease recognised by our phy- 
sicians." 

" And what is its nature ? " 

" Ah, that neither I nor any other physician can tell 
you. Life 'goes out,' like a lamp when the materials 
supplying the electric current are exhausted ; and yet 
here all the waste of which physic can take cognisance 
is fully repaired, and the circuit is not broken." 



154 Across ike Zodiac. 

" What are the symptoms, then ? " 

" They are all reducible to one — exhaustion of the 
will, the prime element of personality. The patient 
ceases to care. It is too much trouble to work ; then 
too much trouble to read; then too much trouble to 
exert even those all but mechanical powers of thought 
wliich are necessary to any kind of social intercourse — 
to give an order, to answer a question, to recognise a 
name or a face : then even the passions die out, till the 
patient cannot be provoked to rate a stupid amba or a 
negligent wife ; finally, there is not energy to dress or 
undress, to rise up or sit down. Then the patient is 
allowed to die : if kept alive perforce, he would finally 
lack the energy to eat or even to breathe. And yet, all 
this time, the man is alive, the self is there; and I have 
prolonged life, or rattier renewed it, for a time, by some 
chance stimulus that has reached the inner sijiht throuirh 
the thickening veil, and shocked the essential man into 
willing and thinking once more as he thought and 
willed when he was younger than his grandchildren are 
now. ... It is well that some of us who know best 
how long the flesh may be kept in life, are, in right of 
that very knowledge, proof against the wish to keep the 
life in the flesh for ever." 



( 155 ) 



CHAPTEE VI I. 

ESCORT DUTY. 

Immediately after breakfast the next morning my host 
invited me to the gate of his garden, where stood one 
of the carriages I had seen before in the distance, but 
never had an opportunity of examining. It rested on 
three wheels, the two hind ones by far larger than that 
in front, which merely served to sustain the equilibrium 
of the body and to steer. The material was the silver- 
like metal of which most Martial vessels and furniture 
are formed, every spar, pole, and cross-piece being a 
hollow cylinder ; a construction which, with the extreme 
lightness of the metal itself, made the carriajre far 
lighter than any I had seen on Earth. The body con- 
sisted of a seat with sides, back, and footboard, wide 
enough to accommodate two persons with ease. It was 
attached by strong elastic fastenings to a frame consist- 
ing of four light poles rising from the framework in 
which the axles turned ; completely dispensing with the 
trouble of springs, while affording a more complete pro- 
tection from anything like jolting. The steering gear 
consisted of a helm attached to the front wheel and 
coming up within easy reach of the driver's hand. Tlie 
electric motive power and machinery were concealed in 
a box beneath the seat, which was indeed but the top of 



156 Across the Zodiac. 

this most important and largest portion of the carriage. 
The poles sustained a light framework supporting a 
canopy, which could be drawn over the top and around 
three sides of the carriage, leaving only the front open. 
This canopy, in the present instance, consisted of a sort 
of very fine silken material, thickly embroidered within 
and without with feathers of various colours and sizes, 
combined in patterns of exquisite beauty. My host 
requested me to mount the carriage with him, and 
drove for some distance, teaching me how to steer, and 
liow, by pressing a spring, to stop or slacken the motion 
of the vehicle, also how to direct it over rough ground 
and up or down the steepest slope on which it was 
available. When we returned, the Eegent's carriage 
was standing by the gate, and two others were waiting 
at a little distance in the rear. The Regent, with a 
companion, was already seated, and as soon as we 
reached the gate, Eveena appeared. She was enveloped 
from head to foot in a cloak of something like swans- 
down covering her whole figure, loose, like the ordinary 
outer garments of both sexes, and gathered in at the 
waist by a narrow zone of silver, with a sort of clasp of 
some bright green jewel ; and a veil of white satin- 
looking material covered the whole head and face, and 
fell half-way to the waist. Her gloved right hand was 
hidden by the sleeve of her cloak ; that of the left arm 
was turned back, and the hand which she gave me as 
I handed her to the seat on my left was bare — a usage 
both of convenience and courtesy. At Esmo's request, 
the Eegent, who led the way, started at a moderate 
pace, not exceeding some ten miles an hour. I observed 
that on the roofs of all the houses aloncf the road the 



Escort DiLty. 157 

inliabitants had gathered to watcli us ; and as my com- 
panion was so completely veiled, I did not baulk their 
curiosity by drawing the canopy. I presently noticed 
that the fjirl held something concealed in her xvA\\> 
sleeve, and ventured to ask her what she had there. 

" Pardon me," she said ; " if we had been less hurried, 
I meant to have asked your permission to bring my 
pet esvh with me." Drawing back her sleeve, she 
showed a bird about the size of a carrier-pigeon, but 
witli an even larger and stronger beak, white body, 
and wings and tail, like some of the plumage of the 
head and neck, tinted with gold and green. Around 
its neck was a little string of silver, and suspended 
from this a small tablet with a pencil or style. Since 
by her look and manner she seemed to expect an 
answer, I said — 

" I am very glad you have given me the opportunity 
of making acquaintance with another of those curiously 
tame and manageable animals which your people seem 
to train to such wonderful intelligence and obedience. 
We have birds on Earth which will carry a letter from 
a strange place to their home, but only homewards." 

" These," she answered, " will go wherever they are 
directed, if they have been there before and know the 
name of the place ; and if this bird had been let loose 
after we had left, he would have found me, if not 
hidden by trees or other shelter, anywhere within a 
score of miles." 

" And have your people," I asked, " many more such 
wonderfully intelligent and useful creatures tamed to 
your service, besides the ambau, the t}Tee, and these 
letter-carriers ? " 



158 Across tJic Zodiac. 

" Oh yes ! " she answered. " Nearly all our domestic 
animals will do anything they are told which lies 
within their power. You have seen the tyree march- 
ing in a line across a field to pick up every single 
worm or insect, or egg of such, within the whole space 
over which they move, and I think you saw the 
ambau gathering fruit. It is not very usual to employ 
the latter for this purpose, except in the trees. Have 
you not seen a big creature — I should call it a bird, 
but a bird that cannot fly, and is covered with coarse 
hair instead of feathers ? It is about as tall as myself, 
but with a neck half as long as its body, and a very 
sharp powerful beak ; and four of these carvee would 
clear a field the size of our garden (some 160 acres) 
of weeds in a couple of days. We can send them, 
moreover, with orders to fetch a certain number of any 
particular fruit or plant, and they scarcely ever forget 
or blunder. Some of them, of course, are cleverer 
than others. The cleverest wiU remember the name 
of every plant in the garden, and w^ill, perhaps, bring 
four or even six different kinds at a time ; but gene- 
rally we show them a leaf of the plant we want, or 
point out to them the bed where it is to be found, and 
do not trouble their memory with more than two 
different orders at a time. The Unicorns, as you call 
them, come regularly to be milked at sunset, and, if 
told beforehand, will come an hour earlier or later to 
any place pointed out to them. There were many 
beasts of burden before the electric carriages were 
invented, so intelligent that I have heard the rider 
never troubled himself to guide them except when he 
changed his purpose, or came to a road they had 



Escort Duty. 159 

not traversed before. He would simply tell them 
where to go, and they would carry him safely. The 
only creature now kept for this purpose is the largest 
of our birds (the caldcda), about six feet long from 
head to tail, and with wings measuring thrice as much 
from tip to tip. They will sail through the air and 
carry their rider up to places otherwise inaccessible. 
But they are little used except by the hunters, partly 
because the danger is thought too great, partly because 
they cannot rise more than about 4000 feet from the 
sea-level with a rider, and within that height there are 
few places worth reaching that cannot be reached more 
safely. People used to harness them to balloons till 
we found means to drive these by electricity — the last 
great invention in the way of locomotion, which I think 
was completed within my grandfather's memory." 

" And," I asked, " have you no animals employed in 
actually cultivating the soil ? " 

" No," she replied, " except the weeding birds of whom 
I have told you. Wlien we have a piece of ground too 
small for our electric ploughs, we sometimes set them 
to break it up, and they certainly reduce the soil to a 
powder much finer than that produced by the machine." 

" I should like to see those machines at work." 

" Well," answered Eveena, " I have no doubt we shall 
pass more than one of them on our way." 

As she said this we reached the great road I had 
crossed on my arrival, and turning up this for a short 
distance, sufficient, however, to let me perceive that it 
led to the seaport town of which I have spoken, we 
came to a break in the central footpath, just wide 
enough to allow us to pass. Looking back on this 



i6o Across the Zodiac. 

occasion, I observed tliat we were followed by the two 
other carriages I have mentioned, but at some distance. 
We then proceeded up the mountain by a narrow road 
I had not seen in descending it. On either side of this 
lay fields of the kind already described, one of which 
was in course of cultivation, and here I saw the ploughs 
of which my companion had spoken. Evidently con- 
structed on the same principle as the carriages, but of 
much greater size, and with heavier and broader wheels, 
they tore up and broke to pieces a breadth of soil of 
some two yards, working to a depth of some eighteen 
inches, with a dozen sharp powerful triangular shares, 
and proceeding at a rate of about fifty yards per minute. 
Eveena explained that these fields were generally from 
200 to 600 yards square. The machine having traversed 
the whole field in one direction, then recommenced its 
work, ploughing at right angles to the former, and 
carrying behind it a sort of harrow, consisting of hooks 
supported by light, hollow, metallic poles fixed at a 
certain angle to the bar forming the rearward extremity 
of the plough, by which the surface was levelled and 
the soil beaten into small fragments ; broken up, in fact, 
as I had seen, not less completely than ordinary garden 
soil iu England or Elanders. When it reached the end 
of its course, the plough had to be turned ; and this 
duty required the employment of two men, one at each 
end of the field, who, however, had no other or more 
difiicult labour than that of turning the machine at the 
completion of each set of furrows. In another field, 
already doubly ploughed, a sowing machine was at 
work. The large seeds were placed singly by means of 
an instrument resembling a magnified ovipositor, such 



Escort Duty. i6i 

as that possessed by many insects, wliicli at regulated 
intervals made a hole in the ground and deposited a seed 
therein. Eveena explained that where the seed and 
plant were small, a continuous stream was poured into 
a small furrow made by a different instrument attached 
to the same machine, while another arm, placed a little 
to the rear, covered in the furrow and smoothed the 
surface. In reply to another question of mine — 

" There are," she said, " some score of different wool 
or hair bearing animals, which are shorn twice in the 
year, immediately after the rains, and furnish the fibre 
which is woven into most of the materials we use for 
dress and other household purposes. These creatures 
adapt themselves to the shearing machines with won- 
derful equanimity and willingness, so that they are 
seldom or never injured." 

" Xot even," I asked, " by inexperienced or clumsy 
hands ? " 

" Hands," she said, " have nothing to do with the 
matter. They have only to send the animal into the 
machine, and, indeed, each goes in of his own accord as 
he sees his fellow come out." 

" And have you no vegetable fibres," I said, " that are 
used for weaving ? " 

" Oh yes," she answered, " several. The outer dress 
I wear indoors is made of a fibre found inside the rind 
of the fruit of the algyro tree, and the stalks of three or 
four different kinds of plants afford materials almost 
equally soft and fine." 

" And your cloak," I asked, " is not that made of t he 
skin of some animal ? " 

" Yes," she replied, " and the most curious creature ^ 

VOL. I. L 



1 62 Across the Zodiac. 

have heard of. It is found only in the northern and 
southern Arctic land-belts, to which indeed nearly all 
wild animals, except the few small ones that are en- 
couraged because they prey upon large and noxious 
insects, are now confined. It is about as large as the 
Unicorns, and has, like them, four limbs ; but otherwise 
it more resembles a bird. It has a bird's long slight 
neck, but a very small and not very bird -like head, with 
a long horny snout, furnished with teeth, something 
between a beak and a mouth. Its hind limbs are those 
of a bird, except that they have more flesh upon the 
lowest joints and are covered with this soft down. Its 
front limbs, my father says, seem as if nature had hesi- 
tated between wings and arms. They have attached to 
them several long, sharp, featherless quills starting from 
a shrivelled membrane, which make them very powerful 
and formidable w^eapons, so that no animal likes to 
attack it ; while the foot has four fingers or claws with 
which it clasps fish or small dragons, especially those 
electric dragons of which you have seen a tame and very 
much enlarged specimen, and so liolds them that they 
cannot find a chance of delivering their electric shock. 
But for the Thcrnec these dragons, winged as they are, 
would make those lands hardly liabitable either for man 
or other beasts. All our furs are obtained from those 
countries, and the creatures from which they are derived 
are carefully preserved for that purpose, it being for- 
bidden to kill more than a certain number of each every 
year, which makes these skins by far the costliest articles 
we use." 

By this time we had reached the utmost point to 
which the carriages could take us, about a furloncr from 



Escort Duty. 1 6 



v) 



the platform on which I had rested during my descent. 
Seeing that the Eegent and his companion had dis- 
mounted, I stopped and sprang down from my carriage, 
holding out my hand to assist Eveena's descent, an 
attention which I thought seemed to surprise her. Up 
to tlie platform the path was easy enough ; after that it 
became steep even for me, and certainly a troublesome 
and difhcult ascent for a lady dressed as I have described, 
and hardly stronger than a child of the same height and 
size on earth. Still my companion did not seem to 
expect, and certainly did not invite assistance. That 
she found no little difficulty in the walk was evident 
from her turning back both sleeves and releasing her 
bird, which hovered closely round her. Very soon her 
embarrassments and stumbles threatened such actual 
danger as overcame my fear of conmiitting what, for 
aught I knew, might be an intrusion. Catching her as 
she fell, and raising her by the left hand, I held it fast 
in my own right, begging to be permitted to assist her 
for the rest of the journey. Her manner and the tone 
of her voice made it evident that such an attention, if 
unusual, was not offensive ; but I observed that those 
who were following us looked at us with some little 
surprise, and spoke together in words which I could not 
catch, but the tone of which was not exactly pleasant or 
complimentary. The Eegent, a few steps in advance 
of us, turned back from time to time to ask me some 
trivial question. At last we reached the summit, and 
here I released my companion's hand and stepped for- 
ward a pace or two to point out to the liegent the 
external structure of the Astronaut. I was near enough, 
of course, to be heard by Eveena, and endeavoured to 



1 64 Acj'oss the Zodiac. 

address my explanations as much to liei- as to the 
authority to whom I was required to render an account. 
But from the moment that we had actually joined him 
she withdrew from all part and all apparent interest in the 
conversation. When our companions moved forward to 
reach the entrance, which I had indicated, I again offered 
my hand, saying, " I am afraid you will find some little 
difficulty in getting into the vessel by the window by 
wliich I got out." 

The Eegent, however, had brought with him several 
light metal poles, wliicli I had not observed while carried 
by liis companion, but wliich being put together formed 
a convenient ladder of adequate length. He desired me 
to ascend first and cut the riband by means of which 
the window had been sealed ; the law being so strict 
that even he would not violate the symbol of private 
ownership which protected my vessel. Having done 
this and opened the window, I sprang down, and he, 
followed by his companion, ascended the ladder, and 
resting himself upon the broad inner ledge of the 
window — which afforded a convenient seat, since the 
crystal was but half the thickness of the wall — first took 
a long look all round the interior, and then leaped down, 
followed by his attendant. Eveena drew back, but was 
at last persuaded to mount the ladder with my assist- 
ance, and rest on the sill till I followed her and lifted 
her down inside. The Eegent had by this time reached 
the machinery, and was examining it very curiously, 
with greater apparent appreciation of its purpose than 
I should have expected. When we joined them, I found 
little difficulty in explaining the purpose and working 
of most parts of the apparatus. The nature and genera- 



Escort Duty. 165 

tion of the apergic power I took care not to explain. 
The existence of^^such a repulsive force was the point on 
which the Eegent professed incredulity; as it was, of 
course, the critical fact on which my whole narrative 
turned — on which its truth or falsehood depended. I 
resolved ere the close of the inspection to give him clear 
practical evidence on this score. In the meantime, listen- 
ing without answer to his expressions of doubt, I folIoM-ed 
him round the interior, explaining to him and to Eveena 
the use and structure of the thermometer, barycrite, and 
other instruments. My fair companion seemed to follow 
my explanation almost as easily as the officials. Our 
followers, who had now entered the vessel, kept within 
hearing of my remarks ; but, evidently aware that they 
were there on sufferance, asked no questions, and made 
their comments in a tone too low to allow me to under- 
stand their purport. The impression made on the Hegent 
by the instruments, so far as I could gather from his 
brief remarks and the expression of his face, was one of 
contemptuous surprise rather than the interest excited 
by the motive machinery. Most of tliem were evidently, 
in his opinion, clumsy contrivances for obtaining results 
which the scientific knowledge and inventive genius of 
liis countrymen had long ago secured more completely 
and more easily. But he was puzzled by the combina- 
tion of such imperfect knowledge or semi-barbaric ignor- 
ance with the possession of a secret of such immense 
importance as the repulsive current, not yet known nor, 
as I gathered, even conceived by the inhabitants of this 
planet. When he had completed his inspection, he re- 
quested permission to remove some of the objects I had 
left there ; notably many of the dead plants, and several 



1 66 Across the Zodiac. 

books of drawings, mathematical, mechanical, and orna- 
mental, which I had left, and which had not been brought 
away by my host's son when he visited the vessel. These 
I begged him to present to the Campta, adding to them 
a few smaller curiosities, after which I drew him back 
towards the machinery. Ho summoned his attendant, 
and bade him take away to the carriages the articles I 
had given him, calling upon the intruders to assist. 

I was thus left with him and with Eveena alone 
in the building; and with a partly serious, partly mis- 
chievous desire to prove to him the substantial reality 
of objects so closely related to my own disputed exist- 
ence, and to demonstrate the truth of my story, I 
loosened one of the conductors, connected it with the 
machinery, and, directing it against him, sent through 
it a very slight apergic current. I was not quite 
prepared for the result. His Highness was instantly 
knocked head over heels to a considerable distance. 
Turning to interrupt the current before going to his 
assistance, I was startled to perceive that an acci- 
dent of graver moment, in my estimation at least, 
than the discomfiture of this exalted official, had re- 
sulted from my experiment. I had not noticed that a 
conductive wire was accidentally in contact with the 
apergion, while its end hung down towards the floor. 
Of this I suppose Eveena had carelessly taken hold, 
and a part of the current j)assing through it had lessened 
the shock to the Eegent at the expense of one which, 
though it could not possibly have injured her, had from 
its suddenness so shaken her nerves as to throw her into 
a momentary swoon. She was recovering almost as 
soon as I reached her; and by the time her fellow- 



Escort Duty. 167 

sufferer had picked himself up in great disgust an 1 
astonishment, was partly aware what had happened. 
She was, however, much more anxious to excuse herself, 
in the manner of a friglitened child, for meddling with 
the machinery than to hear my apologies for the accident. 
Noting her agitation, and seeing that she was still trem- 
bling all over, I was more anxious to get her into the open 
air, and out of reach of the apparatus she seemed to regard 
with considerable alarm, than to offer any due apology 
to the exalted personage to whom I had afforded much 
stronger evidence, if not of my own substantiality, yet 
of the real existence of a repulsive energy, than I 
had seriously intended. With a few hurried words to 
him, I raised Eveena to the window, and lifted her to 
the ground outside. I felt, however, that I could not 
leave the Eegent to find his own way out, the more so 
that I hardly saw how he could reach the window from 
the inside without my assistance. I excused myself, 
therefore, and seating her on a rock close to the ladder, 
promised to return at once. This, however, I found im- 
possible. By the time the injured officer had recovered 
the physical shock to his nerves and the moral effect of 
the disrespect to his person, his anxiety to verify what 
he had heard entirely occupied his mind; and he 
requested further experiments, not upon himself, which 
occupied some half-hour. He listened and spoke, I 
must admit, with temper ; but his air of displeasure was 
evident enough, and I was aware that I had not entitled 
myself to his good word, whether or not he would per- 
mit his resentment to colour his account of facts. He 
was compelled, however, to request my help in reaching 
the window, which I gave with all possible deference. 



1 68 Across the Zodiac. 

But, to my alarm, when we reached the foot of the 
ladder, Eveena was nowliere to be seen. Calling her 
and receiving no reply, calling again and hearing what 
sounded like her voice, but in a faint tone and coming 
I knew not whither, I ran round the platform to seek 
her. I could see nothing of her; but at one point, just 
where the projecting edge of tlie platform overhung the 
precipice below, I recognised her bird fluttering its 
wings and screaming as if in pain or terror. The 
Eegent was calling me in a somewhat imperious tone, 
but of course received neither answer nor attention. 
Eeaching the spot, I looked over the edge and with 
some trouble discovered what had happened, Xot 
merely below but underneath the overhanging edge was 
a shelf about four feet long and some ten inches in 
breadth, covered with a flower equally remarkable in 
form and colour, the former being that of a hollow 
cylindrical bell, about two inches in diameter; the 
latter a bluish lilac, the nearest approach to azure I 
have seen in Mars — the whole ground one sheet of 
flowers. On this, holding in a half-insensible state to 
tlie outward-sloping rock above her, Eveena clung, her 
veil and head-dress fallen, her face expressing utter 
bewilderment as well as terror. I saw, though at the 
moment I hardly understood, how she had reached this 
point. A very narrow path, some hundred feet in 
length, sloped down from the table-rock of the summit 
to the shelf on which she stood, with an outer hedge of 
shrubs and the summits of small trees, which concealed, 
and in some sort guarded, the precipice below, so that 
even a timid girl might pursue the path without fear. 
But this path ended several feet from the commence- 



Escoj't Dzity. 169 

inent of the slielf. Across the gap had Lain a fallen 
tree, with boughs affording such a screen and railing on 
the outward side as might at once conceal the gulf 
below, and afford assistance in crossing the chasm. But 
in crossing this tree Eveena's footsteps had displaced 
it, and it had so given way as not only to be unavail- 
able, but a serious obstacle to my passage. Had I had 
time to go round, I might have been able to leap the 
chasm ; I certainly could not return that way with a 
burden even so light as that of my precious charge. 
The only chance was to lift her by main force directly 
to where I stood ; and the outward projection of the 
rock at this point rendered this peculiarly difficult, as 
I had nothing to cling or hold by. The Eegent had by 
this time reached me, and discerned what had occurred. 

" Hold me fast," I said, " or sit upon me if you like, 
to hold me with your weight whilst I lean over." The 
man stood astounded, not by the danger of another but 
by the demand on himself ; and evidently without the 
slightest intention of complying. 

" You are mad !" he said. " Your chance is ten times 
greater to lose your own life than to save hers." 

" Lose my life ! " I cried. " Could I dare return alive 
without her ? Throw your whole weight on me, I say, 
as I lean over, and waste no more time ! " 

" What ! " he rejoined. " You are twice as heavy as I, 
and if you are pulled over I shall probably go over too. 
AVhy am I to endanger myself to save a girl from the 
consequences of her folly ? " 

" If you do not," I swore, " I will fling you where the 
carcass of which you are so careful shall be crushed out 
of the very form of the manhood you disgrace." 



I 70 Across the Zodiac. 

Even this threat failed to move him. Meantime the 
bird, fluttering on my shoulder, suggested a last chance ; 
and snatching the tablet round its neck, I wrote two 
words thereon, and calling to it, " Home ! " the intelligent 
creature flew off at fullest speed. 

" Now," I said, " if you do not help me I will kill you 
here and now. If you pretend to help and fail me, that 
bird carries to Esmo my request to hold you answerable 
for our lives." 

I invoked, in utter desperation, the awe with which, 
as his hints and my experience implied, Esmo was 
regarded by liis neighbours ; and slender as seemed this 
support, it did not fail me. The Eegent's countenance 
fell, and I saw that I might depend at least on his 
passive compliance. Clasping his arm with my left hand, 
I said, " Pull back with all your might. If I go over, 
you shall go over too." Then pulling him down with 
me, and stretching myself over the precipice so far that 
but for this additional support I must have fallen, I 
reached Eveena, whose closed eyes and relaxing limbs 
indicated that another moment's delay might be fatal. 

" Give me your hand," I cried in despair, seeing how 
tightly slie still grasped the tough fibrous shoots grow- 
ing in the crevices of the rock, whereof she had taken 
hold. " Give me your hand, and let go ! " 

To give me her hand was beyond the power of her 
will ; to let go without giving me hold would have been 
fatal. Eeaching over to the uttermost, I contrived to 
lay a firm grasp upon her wrist. But this would not 
do. I could hardly drag her up by one arm, especially 
if she would not relax her grasp. I must release the 
Eegent and depend upon his obedience, or forfeit the 



Escort Duty. 171 

chance of saving her, as in a few more moments she 
would certainly swoon and fall. 

" Throw yourself upon me, and sit iirm, if you value 
your life," I cried, and I relaxed my hold on his arm, 
stretching both hands to grasp Eveena. I felt the 
man's weight on my body, and with both arms extended 
to the uttermost hanging over the edge, I caught firm 
hold of the girl's shoulders. Even now, with any girl 
of her age on earth, and for aught I know with many 
Martial damsels, the case would have been hopeless. 
My whole strength was required to raise her ; I had 
none to spare to force her loose from her hold. Fortu- 
nately my rough and tight clasp seemed to rouse her. 
Her eyes half opened, and semi-consciousness appeared 
to have returned. 

" Let go ! " I cried in that sharp tone of imperious 
anger which — with some tempers at least — is the 
natural expression of the outward impulse produced by 
supreme and agonizing terror. Obedience is the here- 
ditary lesson taught to her sex by the effects of equality 
in Mars. Eveena had been personally trained in a 
principle long discarded by Terrestrial women ; and not 
half aware what she did, but yielding instinctively to 
the habit of compliance with imperative command 
spoken in a masculine voice, she opened her hands just 
as I had lost all hope. With one desperate effort I 
swung her fairly on to the platform, and, seeing her 
safe there, fell back myself scarcely more sensible than 
she was. 

The whole of this terrible scene, which it has taken 
30 long to relate, did not occupy more than a minute in 
action. I know not whether my readers can under- 



172 Across tJic Zodiac. 

stand llie full difficulty and danger of tlie situation. I 
know that no words of mine can convey the impression 
graven into my own memory, never to be effaced or 
weakened while consciousness remains. The strongest 
man on Earth could not have done what I did ; could 
not, lying half over the precipice, have swung a girl of 
eighteen right out from underneath him, and to his own 
level. But Eveena was of slighter, smaller frame than 
a healthy French girl of twelve, while I retained the 
full strength of a man adapted to the work of a world 
where every weight is twice as heavy as on Mars. 
What I had practically to do was to lift not seven or 
eight stone of European girlhood, not even the six 
Eveena might possibly have weighed on Earth, but half 
that weight. And yet the position was such that all the 
strength I had acquired through ten years of constant 
practice in the field and in the chase, all the power of 
a frame in healthful maturity, and of muscles whose 
force seemed doubled by the tension of the nerves, 
hardly availed. "When I recovered my own senses, and 
had contrived to restore Eveena's, my unwilling assist- 
ant had disappeared. 

It was an hour before Eveena seemed in a condi- 
tion to be removed, and perhaps I was not very urgent 
to hurry her away. I had done no more than any 
man, the lowest and meanest on Earth, must have 
done nnder the circumstances. I can scarcely enter 
into the feelings of the fellow - man m'Iio, in my 
position, could have recognised a choice but between 
saving and perishing with the helpless creature en- 
trusted to his charge. But hereditary disbelief in any 
power above the physical forces of Nature, in any law 



Escort DtUy. i 73 

higher than that of man's own making, has rendered 
human nature in ^lars something utterly different from, 
perhaps, hardly intelligible to, the human nature of a 
planet forty million miles nearer the Sun. Though 
brought up in an affectionate home, Eveena shared the 
ideas of the world in which she was born; and so far 
accepted its standards of opinion and action as natural 
if not right, that the risk I had run, the effort I had 
made to save her, seemed to her scarcely less extraor- 
dinary than it had appeared to the Zampta. She rated 
its devotion and generosity as highly as he appreciated 
its extravagance and folly; and if he counted me a mad- 
man, she was disposed to elevate me into a hero or a 
demi-god. The tones and looks of a maiden in such a 
temper, however perfect her maidenly reserve, would, I 
fancy, be very agreeable to men older than I was, either 
in constitution or even in experience. I doubt whether 
any man under fifty would have been more anxious 
than myself to cut short our period of repose, broken 
as it was, when I refused to listen to her tearful peni- 
tence and self-reproach, by occasional words and looks 
of gratitude and admiration. I did, however, remember 
that it was expedient to refasten the window, and re- 
attach the seals, before departing. At the end of the 
hour's rest I allowed my charge and myself, I had re- 
covered more or less completely the nervous force which 
had been for a while utterly exhausted, less by the 
effort than by the terror that preceded it. I was neither 
surprised, nor perhaps as much grieved as I should have 
been, to find that Eveena could hardly walk ; and felt 
to the full the value of those novel conditions which 
enabled me to carry her the more easily in my arms, 



174 Across the Zodiac. 

though much oppressed even by so slight an effort in 
that thin air, to the place where we had left our car- 
riage — no inconsiderable distance by the path we had 
to pursue. Before starting on our return I had, in 
despite of her most earnest entreaties, managed to re- 
cover her head-dress and veil, at a risk which, under 
other circumstances, I might not have cared to en- 
counter. But had she been seen without it on our 
return, the comments of the whole neighbourhood would 
have been such as might have disturbed even her 
father's cool indiflerence. We reached her home in 
safety, and with little notice, having, of course, drawn 
the canopy around us as completely as possible. I was 
pleased to find that only her younger sister, to wiiose 
care I at once committed her, was there at present, the 
elders not liaving yet returned. I took care to detach 
from the bird's neck the tablet which had served its 
purpose so w^ ell. The creature had found his way home 
M'ithin half-an-hour after I dismissed him, and had 
frightened Zevle [Stella] not a little ; though the mes- 
sage, which a fatal result would have made sufficiently 
intelligible to Esmo, utterly escaped her comprehension. 



/o 



CHAPTEE Vlir. 

A FAITH AND ITS FOUNDER. 

On the return of the family, my host was met at the 
door with such accounts of what had happened as led 
him at once to see and question his daughter. It was 
not, therefore, till he had heard her story that I saw 
him. More agitated than I should have expected from 
one under ordinary circumstances so calm and self- 
possessed, he entered my room with a face whose 
paleness and compressed lips indicated intense emotion; 
and, laying his hand on my shoulder, expressed his 
feeling rather in look and tone than in his few broken 
and not very significant words. After a few moments, 
however, he recovered his coolness, and asked me to 
supply the deficiencies of Eveena's story. I told him 
briefly but exactly what had passed from the moment 
when I missed her to that of her rescue. He listened 
without the slightest symptom of surprise or anger 
to the tale of the Regent's indifference, and seemed 
hardly to understand the disgust and indignation with 
which I dwelt upon it. When I had finished — 

"You have made," he said, "an enemy, and a 
dangerous one ; but you have also secured friends 
against whose support even the anger of a greater 
than the Zampta miglit break as harmlessly as waves 



176 Across the Zodiac. 

upon a rock. He behaved only as any one else 
would have done ; and it is useless to be angry "svith 
men for being what they habitually and universally 
are. What you did for Eveena, one of ourselves, 
perhaps, but no other, niiglit have risked for a first 
bride on the first day of lier marriage. Indeed, though 
I am most thankful to you, I should, perhaps, have 
withheld my consent to my daughter's request had 
I supposed that you felt so strongly for her." 

"I think," I replied with some displeasure, "that I 
may positively affirm that I have spoken no word to 
your daughter which I should not have spoken in 
your presence. I am too unfamiliar with your ideas 
to know whether your remark has the same force and 
meaning it would have borne among my own people ; 
but to me it conveys a grave reproach. When I ac- 
cepted the charge of your daughter during this day's 
excursion, I thought of her only as every man thinks 
of a young, pretty, and gentle girl of whom he has 
seen and knows scarcely anything. To avail myself 
of what has since happened to make a deeper impres- 
sion on her feelings than you might approve would 
have seemed to me unpardonable treachery." 

" You do utterly misunderstand me," he answered. 
"It may be that Eveena has received an impression 
which will not be effaced from her mind. It may be 
that this morning, could I have foreseen it, I should 
have decidedly wished to avoid anything that would 
so impress her. But that feeling, if it exist, has been 
caused by your acts and not by your words. That 
you should do your utmost, at any risk to yourself, 
to save her, is consistent with what I know of your 



A Faith and its Founder. 177 

habit of mind, and ought not much to surprise me. 
But, from your own account of what you said to the 
Zampta, you were not merely wilhug to risk life for 
life. When you deemed it impossible to return with- 
out her, you spoke as few among us would seriously 
speak of a favourite bride." 

" I spoke and felt," I replied, " as any man trained 
in the hereditary thought of my race and rank w^ould 
have spoken of any woman committed to his care. 
All tliat I said and did for Eveena, I should have 
said and done, I hope, for the least attractive or least 
amiable maiden in this planet who had been similarly 
entrusted to my charge. How could any but the vilest 
coward return and say to a father, ' You trusted your 
daughter to me, and she has perished by my fault or 
neglect'?" 

" Not so," he answered, " Eveena alone was to blame — 
and much to blame. She says herself that you had 
told her to remain where you left her till your return ; 
and if she had not disobeyed, neither her life nor yours 
would have been imperilled." 

" One hardly expects a young lady to comply exactly 
with such requests," I said. " At any rate. Terrestrial 
feelings of honour and even of manhood would have 
made it easier to leap the precipice than to face you 
and the world if, no matter by whose fault, my charge 
had died in such a manner under my eyes and within 
my reach." 

Esmo's eyes brightened and his cheek flushed a 
little as I spoke, with more of earnestness or passion 
than any incident, how^ever exciting, is wont to pro- 
voke among his impassive race. 

VOL. I. M 



178 Across the Zodiac. 

" Of one thing," he said, " you have assured me — that 
the proposal I was about to make rather in\'ites honour 
than confers it. I have been obliged, in speaking of 
the manners and ideas of my countrymen, to let you 
perceive not only that I differ from them, but that there 
are others who think and act as I do. We have for 
ages formed a society bound together by our peculiar 
tenets. That w^e individually differ in conduct, and, 
therefore, probably in ideas, from our countrymen, they 
necessarily know ; that we form a body apart with laws 
and tenets of our own, is at least suspected. But our 
organisation, its powers, its methods, its rules of mem- 
bership, and its doctrines are, and have always been, a 
secret, and no man's connection -with it is avowed or 
provable. Our chief distinctive and essential doc- 
trines you hold as strongly as we do — the All-perfect 
Existence, the immortal human soul. From these neces- 
sarily follow conceptions of life and principles of conduct 
alien to those that have as necessarily grown up among 
a race which repudiates, ignores, and hates our two fun- 
damental premises. After what has happened, I can 
promise you immediate and eager acceptance among 
tliose invested with the fullest privileges of our order. 
They will all admire your action and applaud your 
motives, though, frankly speaking, I doubt whether any 
of us would carry your views so far as you have done. 
The best among us would have flinched, unless under 
the influence of the very strongest personal affection, 
from the double peril of which you seemed to think so 
lightly. They might indeed have defied the Eegent 
but it would have been in reliance on the protection of 
a power superior to his of which you knew nothing." 



A Faith and its Foiuidcr. 1 79 

" Then," I said, " I suppose your engagement of to-day 
was a meeting of this society ? " 

" Yes," he answered, " a meeting of the Chamber to 
which I and the elder members of my household, in- 
cluding my son and his wife, belong." 

" But," I said, " if you are more powerful than the 
rulers of your peoj^le, what need of such careful 
secrecy ? " 

" You will understand the reason," he answered, 
" when you learn the nature of our powers. Hundreds 
among millions, we are no match for the fighting force 
of our unbelieving countrymen. Our safety lies in the 
terror inspired by a tradition, verified by repeated and 
invariable experience, that no one who injures one of 
us but has reason to rue it, that no mortal enemy of the, 
Star has ever escaped signal punishment, more terrible 
for the mystery attending it. Were we known, were our 
organisation avowed, we might be hvmted down and ex- 
terminated, and should certainly suffer frightful havoc, 
even if in the end we were able to frighten or overcome 
our enemies. But if you are disposed to accept my 
offer — and enrolment among us gives you at once your 
natural place in this planet and your best security 
against the enmit}^ you have incurred and will incur 
here — I should prefer to make the rest of the explana- 
tion that must precede your admission in presence of 
my family. The first step, the preliminary instruction 
in our creed and our simpler mysteries, which is the 
work of the Novitiate, is a solemn epoch in the lives of 
our children. They are not trusted with our secret till 
we can rely on the maturity of their intelligence and 
loyalty of their nature. Eveena would in any case have 



I So Across the Zodiac. 

been received as a novice within some dozen days. It 
will now be easy for me, considering her education and 
intelligence and my own position in the Order, to obtain, 
for lier as for you, exemption from the usual probation 
on proof that you both know all that is usually taught 
therein, and admission on the same occasion ; and it 
will add solemnity and interest to her first initiation, 
that this chief lesson of her life, should be shared this 
evening wdth him to whom she owes it that she lives to 
enter the society, to which her ancestors have belonged 
since its institution." 

We passed into the peristyle, where the ladies were as 
usual assembled ; but the children had been dismissed, 
and of the maidens Eveena only was present. Fatigue 
and agitation had left her very pale, and she was resting 
at full length on the cushions with her head pillowed on 
her mother's knee. As we approached, however, they 
all rose, the other ladies greeting me eagerly and warmly, 
Eveena rising with difficulty and faltering the welcome 
which the rest had spoken with enthusiastic earnestness. 
Forgetting for the moment the prudence which igno- 
rance of Martial customs had hitherto dictated, I lifted 
to my lips the hand that she, following the example of 
the rest, but shyly and half reluctantly, laid on my 
shoulder — a form very different to the distant greeting 
I had heretofore received, and marking that I was no 
longer to be treated as a stranger to the family. My 
unusual salute brought the colour back to her cheeks, 
but no one else took notice of it. I observed, however, 
that on this occasion, instead of interposing himself 
between me and the ladies as usual, her father left 
vacant the place next to her; and I seated myself at 



A Faith and its Founder. 1 8 1 

lier feet. She would have exchanged her reclining pos- 
ture for that of the others, but her mother gently drew 
her down to her former position. 

" Eveena," said my host, " I have told our friend, 
what you know, that there is in this world a society, of 
which I am a member, whose principles are not those 
of our countrymen, but resemble rather those which 
supjilied the impulses on which he acted to-day. This 
much you know. What you would have learned a few 
days hence, I mean that you and he shall now hear at 
the same time." 

" Before you enter on that subject," interposed Zulve 
timidly — for it is most unusual for a lady to interfere 
in her husband's conversation, much more to offer a 
suggestion or correction — but yet earnestly, " let me 
say, on my own part, what I am sure you must have 
said already on yours. If there be now, or ever shall 
be, anything we can do for our guest, anything we can 
give that he would value, not in requital, but in memory 
of what he has done for us — whatever it should cost 
us, though he should ask the most precious thing we 
possess, it will be our pride and pleasure — the greatest 
pleasure he can afford us — to grant it." 

The time and the surroundings w^ere not perhaps 
exactly suitable to the utterance of the wish suggested 
by these words ; but I knew so little what might be in 
store for me, and understood so well the difficulty and 
uncertainty of finding future opportunities of intercourse 
with the ladies at least of the family, that I dared not 
lose the present. I spoke at once upon the impulse of 
the moment, with a sense of reckless desperation not 
unlike that with which an artillerist fires the train 



1 82 Across the Zodiac. 

whose explosion may win for him the ohsidional wreath 
or blow liim into atoms. " You and my host," I said, 
"have one treasure that I have learned to covet, but it 
is exactly the most precious thing you possess, and one 
which it would be presumptuous to ask as reward ; even 
liad I not owed to Esmo the life I perilled for Eveena, 
and if I had acted from choice and freely, instead of 
doing only what only tlie vilest of cowards could have 
failed to attempt. In asking it indeed, I feel that I 
cancel whatever claim your extravagant estimate of that 
act can possibly ascribe to me." 

" We don't waste words," answered Esmo, " in saying 
what we don't mean, and I confirm fully what my wife 
has said. There is nothing we possess that we shall 
not delight to give as token of regard and in remem- 
brance of this day to the saviour of our child." 

" If," I said, " I find a neighbour's purse containing 
half his fortune, and return it to him, he may offer me 
what reward I ask, but would hardly think it reason- 
able if I asked for the purse and its contents. But you 
have only one thing I care to possess — that which I 
have, by God's help, been enabled to save to-day. If I 
must ask a gift, give me Eveena herself." 

Utilitarianism has extinguished in ]\Iars the use of 
compliment and circumlocution ; and until I concluded, 
their looks of mild perplexity showed that neither 
Zulve nor her husband caught my purpose. I fancied 
— for, not daring to look them in the face, I had turned 
my downcast glance on Eveena — that she had perhaps 
somewhat sooner divined the object of my thoughts. 
However, a silence of surprise — was it of reluctance ? 
— followed, and then Zulve bent over her daughter 



A Faith and its Founder. 183 

and looked into lior half-averted face, while Esmo 
answered — 

" Wliat you should ask I promised to give ; what you 
have asked I give, in so far as it is mine to give, in will- 
ing fulfilment of my pledge. But, of course, what I can 
give is but my free permission to my daughter to answer 
for herself. You will be, I hope, within a few days at 
furthest, one of those in whose possession alone a woman 
of my house could be safe or content ; and, free by the 
law of the land to follow her own wish, she is freed by 
her father's voice from the rule which the usage of ten 
thousand years imposes on the daughters of our brother- 
hood." 

Zulve then looked up, for Eveena had hidden her face 
in her mother's robe, and said — 

" If my child will not speak for herself I must speak 
for her, and in my own name and in hers I fulfil her 
father's promise. And now let my husband tell his 
story, for nothing can solemnise more appropriately the 
betrothal of a daughter of the Star, than her admission 
to the knowledge of the Order whose privileges are her 
heritage." 

" At the time," Esmo began, " when material science 
had gained a decided ascendant, and enforced the recog- 
nition of its methods as the only ones whereby certain 
knowledge and legitimate belief could be attained, those 
wlio clung most earnestly to convictions not acquired or 
favoured by scientific logic were sorely dismayed. They 
were confounded, not so much by the yet informal but 
irrevocable majority- vote against them, as by an instinc- 
tive misgiving that Science was right; and by irrepressible 
doubts whether that which would not bear the applica- 



184 Ac7'oss the Zodiac. 

tion of scientific metlioJ could in any sense be true or 
trustworthy knowledge. At the same time, to apply a 
scientific method to the cherished beliefs threatened 
only to dissolve them. Fortunately for them and their 
successors, there was living at that time one of the most 
remarkable and original thinkers whom our race has 
produced. From him came the suggestions that gave 
impulse to our learning and birth to our Order. ' The 
reasonings, the processes of Science,' he affirmed, ' are 
beyond challenge. Their trustwortliiness depends not 
on their subject-matter, but on their own character ; not 
on their relation to outward Xature, but on their con- 
formity to the laws of thought. Their upliolders are 
right in affirming that what will not ultimately bear the 
test of their application cannot be knowledge, and pro- 
bably — for the practical purposes of human life we may 
say certainly — cannot be truth. They are wrong in 
alleging that the ideas for which they can find no 
foundation in the subjects to M'hich scientific method 
has hitherto been applied, are therefore unscientific, or 
sure to disappear under scientific investigation. I hold 
that the existence of a Creator and Euler of the Universe 
can be logically deduced from first principles, as well as 
justly inferred from cumulative evidences of overwhelm- 
ing weight. The existence of something in ]\Ian that is 
not merely corporeal, of powers that can act beyond the 
reach of any corporeal instruments at his command, or 
without the range of their apj^lication, is not proven ; it 
may be, only because the facts that indicate without 
proving it have never yet been subject to systematic 
verification or scientific analysis. But of such facts 
there exists a vast accumulation; unsifted, untested, and 



A Faith audits Founder. 185 

therefore as yet ineffective for proof, but capable, I can 
scarcely doubt, of reduction to methodical order and 
scientific treatment. There are records and traditions 
of every degree of value, from utter worthlessness to 
the worth of the most authentic history, preserving the 
evidences of powers which may be generally described 
as spiritual. Through all ages, among all races, the 
living have alleged themselves from time to time to 
have seen the forms and even heard the voices of the 
dead. Scientific men have been forced by the actual 
and public exercise of the power under the most crucial 
tests — for instance, to produce insensibility in surgical 
operations — to admit that the will of one man can con- 
trol the brain, the senses, the physical frame of another 
without material contact, perhaps at a distance. There 
are narratives of marvels wrought by human will, chiefly 
in remote, Imt occasionally in recent times, transcending 
and even contradicting or overruling the known law^s of 
Nature. All these evidences point to one conclusion ; 
all corroborate and confirm one another. The men of 
science ridicule them because in so many cases the facts 
are imperfectly authenticated, and because in others the 
action of the powers is uncertain, dependent on condi- 
tions imperfectly ascertained, and not of that material 
kind to which material science willingly submits. But 
if they be facts, if they relate to any element of human 
nature, all these things can be systematically investi- 
gated, the true separated from the false, the j)roven from 
the unproven. The powers can be investigated, their 
conditions of action laid down. Probably they may be 
so developed as to be exercised with comparative cer- 
tainty, whether by every one or only by those special 



1 86 Across Ihe Zodiac. 

constitutions in wliicli they may inhere. Such investi- 
gations will at present only enlist the attention and care 
of a few qualified, persons, and, that they may be carried 
on in peace and safety, should be carried on in secrecy. 
But upon them may, I hope, be founded a certainty as 
reG;ards the hioher side of man's nature not less com- 
plete than that which science, l)y similar methods, has 
gradually acquired in regard to its purely physical 
aspects.' 

" For this end he instituted a secret society, which has 
subsisted in constantly increasing strength and cohe- 
sion to the present hour. It has collected evidence, 
conducted experiments, investigated records, studied 
methodically the abnormal phenomena you call occult 
or spiritual, and reduced them to something like the 
certainty of science. Discoveries from the first curious 
and interesting have become more and more complete, 
practical, and effective. Our results have surpassed the 
hopes of our Founder, and transcend in importance, 
while they equal in certainty, the contemporary achieve- 
ments of physical science, — some of the chief of which 
belong to us. All that profound knowledge of human 
nature could suggest to bring its weakness to the sup- 
port of its strength, and enlist both in the work, was 
done by our Founder, and by those who have carried 
out his scheme. The corporate character of the society, 
its rites and formularies, its grades and ranks, are 
matter of deep interest to all its members, have linked 
them together by an inviolable bond, and given them a 
strength infinitely greater than numbers without sucli 
cohesion could possibly have afforded. The Founder 
left us no moral code, imposed on us none of his own 



A Faith and its Founder. 1 8 7 

most cherished ethical convictions, as he pledged us to 
none of the conclusions which his own occult studies 
had led him to anticipate, nearly all of which have been 
verified by later investigation. Such rules as he im- 
posed were directed only to the cohesion and efficiency 
of the Order. Our creed still consists only of the two 
fundamental doctrines ; two settled principles only are 
laid down by our aboriginal law. We are taught to 
cultivate the closest personal affection, the most inti- 
mate and binding ties among ourselves ; to defend the 
Order and one another, whether by strenuous resistance 
or severe reprisals, against all who injure us individually 
or collectively, and especially against persecutors of the 
Order. But the few laws our Founder has left are 
given in the form of striking precepts, brief, and often 
even paradoxical. For example, the law of defence or 
reprisal is concentrated in one antithetic phrase : — 
Gavart dax Zveltd, gaixirt gedcx Zintct [Never let the 
member strike, never let the Order spare]. As it is a 
rule with us to embody none of our symbols, forms, or 
laws in writing, this manner of statement served to 
impress them on the memory, as well as to leave the 
utmost freedom in their application, by the gathered 
experience of ages, and the prudence of those who had 
to deal with the circumstances of each successive period. 
Another maxim says, ' Who kisses a brother's hand 
may kick the Campta,' thus enforcing at once the value 
of ceremonial courtesy, and the power conferred by 
imion. We observe more ceremony in family life than 
others in the most formal public relations. Their theory 
of life being utterly utilitarian, no form is observed that 
serves no distinct practical purpose. We wish to make 



iS8 Across the Zodiac. 

life graceful and elegant, as well as easy. Principles 
originally inculcated upon us by tlie necessity of self- 
protection have been enforced and graven on our very 
nature, by tlie reaction of our experience against the 
rough and harsh relations, the jarring and often un- 
friendly intercourse, of external society. Aliens to our 
Order — that is, ninety-nine hundredths of our race — 
take delight in the infliction of petty personal annoyance, 
at least never take care not to 'jar each other's elbow- 
nerves,' or set on edge the teeth that never bit them. 
We are careful not to wound the feelings or even the 
weaknesses of a brother. Punctilious courtesy, frank 
apology for unintentional wrong, is with us a point of 
honour. Disputes, when by any chance they arise, are 
referred to the arbitration of our chiefs, who never con- 
sider their work done till the disputants are cordially 
reconciled. Envy, the most dangerous source of ill-will 
among men, can hardly exist among us. Eank has 
been well earned by its holder, or in a few cases by his 
ancestors ; and authority is a trust never to be used for 
its holder's benefit. Wealth never provokes covetous- 
ness, since no member is ever allowed to be poor. Not 
only the Order but each member is bound to take every 
opportunity of assisting every other by every method 
within his power. We employ them, we promote them, 
we give them the preference in every kind of patronage 
at our command. But these obligations are points of 
honour rather than of law. Only apostasy or treason 
to the Order involve compulsory penalties ; and the 
latter, if it ever occurred in these days, would be visited 
with instant death, — inflicted, as it is inflicted upon 
irreconcilable enemies, in such a manner that none 



A Faith and its Founder. 189 

could know who passed the sentence, or by whom it 
was executed." 

" And have you," I asked, " no apostates, as you have 
no traitors ? " 

" No," he said. " In the first place, none who has 
lived among us could endure to fall into the ordinary 
Martial life. Secondly, the foundations of our simple 
creed are so clear, so capable of being made apparent to 
every one, that none once familiar with the evidences 
can well cease to believe them." 

Here he paused, and I asked, " How is it possible 
that the means you employ to punish those who have 
wronged you should not, in some cases at least, indicate 
the person who has employed them ? " 

" Because," he said, " the means of vengeance are not 
corporeal ; the agency does not in the least resemble 
any with which our countrymen, or apparently your race 
on Earth, are acquainted. A traitor would be found dead 
with no sign of suffering or injury, and the physician 
would pronounce that he had died of apoplexy or heart 
disease. A persecutor, or one who had unpardonably 
wronged any of the Children of the Star, might go mad, 
might fling himself from a precipice, might be visited 
with the most terrible series of calamities, all natural in 
their character, all distinctly traceable to natural causes, 
but astonishing and even apparently supernatural in 
their accumulation, and often in their immediate appro- 
priateness to the character of his offence. Our neigh- 
bours would, of course, destroy the avenger, if they 
could find him out — would attempt to exterminate our 
society, could they prove its agency." 

" But surely your countrymen must either disbelieve 



1 90 Across the Zodiac. 

iu sucli agency, in which case they can hardly fear your 
vengeance, or they must believe it, and then would 
deem it just and necessary to retaliate." 

" No," he said, " They disbelieve iu the possibility 
wliile they are forced to see the fact. It is impossible, 
they would say, that a man should be injured in mind 
or body, reputation or estate, that the forces of Nature 
or the feelings of men should be directed against him, 
without the intervention of any material agent, by the 
mere will of those who take no traceable means to give 
that will effect. At the same time, tradition and even 
authentic history record, what experience confirms, that 
every one who has wronged us deeply has come to some 
terrible, awe-striking end. Each man would ridicule 
heartily a neighbour who should allege such a ground 
for fearing to injure one of us ; but there is none who is 
so true to his own unbelief as to do that which, in every 
instance, has been followed by signal and awful disaster. 
Moreover, we do by visible symbols suggest a relation 
between the vengeance and the crime. Over the heart 
of criminals who have paid with their lives, no matter 
by what immediate agency, for wrong to us, is found 
after death the image of a small blood-red star ; the only 
case in which any of our sacred symbols are exposed 
to profane eyes." 

" Surely," I said, " in the course of generations, and 
with your numbers, you must be often watched and 
traced ; and some one spy, on one out of a million occa- 
sions, must have found access to your meetings and heard 
and seen all that passed." 

" Our meetings," he said, " are held where no human 
eye can possibly see, no human ear hear what passes. 



A Failh and its Founder. 1 9 1 

The ChamlDers meet in apartments concealed within the 
dwellings of individual members. AVhen we meet the 
doors are guarded, and can be passed only by those who 
give a token and a password. And if these could 
become known to an enemy, the appearance of a stranger 
Avould lead to questions that would at once expose his 
ignorance of our simplest secrets. He would learn 
nothing, and would never tell his story to the outer 
world." . . . 

Opening the door, or rather window, of his private 
chamber, Esmo directed our eyes to a portrait sunk in 
the wall, and usually concealed by a screen which fitted 
exactly the level and the patterns of the general sur- 
face. It displayed, in a green vesture not unlike his 
own, but with a gold ribbon and emerald symbol like 
the cross of an European knighthood over the right 
shoulder, a spare soldierly form, with the most striking 
countenance I have ever seen ; one which, once seen, 
none could forget. The white long hair and beard, the 
former reaching the shoulders, the latter falling to the 
belt, were not only unlike the fashion of this generation, 
but gave tokens of age never discerned in ]\Iars for the 
last three or four thousand years. The form, though 
erect and even stately, was that of one who had felt the 
long since abolished infirmity of advancing years. Tlie 
countenance alone bore no marks of old age. It was 
full, unwrinkled, firm in physical as in moral character ; 
calm in the unresisted power of intellect and will over 
the passions, serene in a dignity too absolute and self- 
contained for pride, but expressing a consciousness of 
command over others as evident as the unconscious, 
effortless command of self to which it owed its supreme 



192 Ac7'oss the Zodiac, 

and sublime quietude. The lips were not set as with a 
habit of reserve or self-restraint, but close and even as 
in the repose to which restraint had never been neces- 
sary. The features were large, clearly defined, and per- 
fect in shape, proportion, and outline. The brow was 
massive and broad, but strangely smooth and even ; the 
head had no single marked development or deficiency 
that could have enlightened a phrenologist, as the face 
told no tale that a physiognomist could read. The dark 
deep eyes were unescapable ; while in presence of the 
portrait you could not for a moment avoid or forget 
their living, fixed, direct look into your own. Even in 
the painted representation of that gaze, almost too calm 
in its absolute mastery to be called searching or scruti- 
nising, yet seeming to look through the eyes into the 
soul, there was an almost mesmeric influence; as if, 
across the abyss of ten thousand years, the Master could 
still control the wills and draw forth the inner thoughts 
of the living, as he had dominated the spirits of their 
remotest ancestors. * * * * 



( 193 ) 



CHAPTER IX. 

MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. 

Next morning Esmo asked me to accompany him on a 
visit to the seaport I have mentioned. In the course 
of this journey I had opportunities of learning many 
things respecting the social and practical conditions of 
human life and industry on Mars that had hitherto been 
unknown to me, and to appreciate the enormous advance 
in material civilisation which has accompanied what 
seems to me, as it would probably seem to any other 
Earth-dweller, a terrible moral degeneration. Most of 
these things I learned partly from my own observation, 
partly from the explanations of my companion; some 
exclusively from what he told me. We passed a house 
in process of building, and here I learned the manner 
in which the wonders of domestic architecture, which 
had so surprised me by their perfection and beauty, are 
accomplished. The material employed in all buildings 
is originally liquid, or rather viscous. In the first place, 
the foundation is excavated to a depth of two or three 
feet, the ground beaten hard, and the Kquid concrete 
poured into the level tank thus formed. When this 
has hardened sufficiently to admit of their erection, 
thin frames of metal are erected, enclosing the spaces 
to be occupied by the several outer and interior walls. 

VOL. I. N 



194 Across the Zodiac. 

These spaces are filled with the concrete at a tempera- 
ture of about 80° C. The tracery and the bas-reliefs 
impressed on the walls are obtained by means of pat- 
terns embossed or marked upon thinner sheets placed 
inside the metallic frames. The hardening is effected 
partly by sudden cooling, partly by the application of 
electricity under great hydraulic pressure. The flat 
roof is constructed in the same manner, the whole mass, 
when the fluid concrete is solidified, being simply one 
continuous stone, as hard and cohesive as granite. 
"Where a flat roof would be liable to give way or break 
from its own weight, the arch or dome is employed to 
give the required strength, and consequently all the 
largest Martial buildings are constructed in the form of 
vaults or domes. As regards the form of the building, 
individual or pubhc taste is absolutely free, it being just 
as easy to construct a circular or octagonal as a rectan- 
gular house or chamber ; but the latter form is almost 
exclusively employed for private dwellings. The jewel- 
like lustre and brilliancy I have described are given to 
the surfaces of the walls by the simultaneous action of 
cold, electricity, and pressure, the principle of which 
Esmo could not so explain as to render it intelligible to 
me. Almost the whole physical labour is done by ma- 
chinery, from the digging and mixing of the materials 
to their conveyance and delivery into the place prepared 
for them by the erection of the metallic frames, and 
from the erection to the removal of the latter. The 
translucent material for the windows I have described 
is prepared by a separate process, and in distinct fac- 
tories, and, ready hardened and cut into sheets of the 
required size, is brought to the building and fixed in its 



Time- Keeping. 195 

place by macliinery. It can be tinted to the taste of 
the purchaser ; but, as a rule, a tintless crystal is pre- 
ferred. The entire work of building a large house, from 
the foundation to the finishing and removal of the 
metallic frames, occupies from half-a-dozen to eighteen 
workmen from four to eight days. This, like most other 
labour in Mars, goes on continuously ; the electric lamps, 
raised to a great height on hollow metallic poles, afford- 
ing by night a very sufficient substitute for the light of 
the sun. All work is done by three relays of artisans ; 
the first set working from noon till evening, the next from 
evening till morning, and the third from morning to noon. 
The Martial day, which consists of about twenty-four 
hours forty minutes of our time, is divided in a somewhat 
peculiar manner. The two-hour periods, of which " mean " 
sunrise and sunset are severally the middle points, are 
respectively called the morning and evening zydau. Two 
periods of the same length before and after noon and 
midnight are distinguished as the first and second dark, 
the first and second mid-day zyda. There remain four 
intervals of three hours each, popularly described as the 
sleeping, waking, after-sunrise, and fore-sunset zyda 
respectively. This is the popular reckoning, and that 
marked upon the instruments which record time for 
ordinary purposes, and by these the meals and other 
industrial and domestic epochs are fixed. But for pur- 
poses of exact calculation, the day, beginning an hour 
before mean sunrise, is distributed into twelve periods, 
or antoi, of a little more than two terrestrial hours 
each. These again are subdivided by twelve into periods 
of a little more than lom., 50s., 2|s., and ^^% respec- 
tively ; but of these the second and last are alone em- 



196 Across the Zodiac. 

ployed in common speech. Tlie uniform employment 
of twelve as the divisor and multiplier in tables of weight, 
distance, time, and space, as well as in arithmetical nota- 
tion, has all the conveniences of the decimal system of 
France, and some others besides due to the greater con- 
venience of twelve as a base. But as regards the larger 
divisions of time, the Llartials are placed at a great 
disadvantage by the absence of any such intermediate 
divisions as the Moon has suggested to Terrestrials. 
The revolutions of the satellites are too rapid and their 
periods too brief to be of service in dividing their year 
of 66^\ solar days. Martial civilisation having taken 
its rise within the tropics — indeed the equatorial con- 
tinents, which only here and there extend far into the 
temperate zone, and two minor continents in the southern 
ocean, are the only well-peopled portions of the planet 
— the demarcation of the seasons afforded by the solstices 
have been comparatively disregarded. The year is divided 
into winter and summer, each beginning with the Equi- 
nox, and distinguished as the North and South summer 
respectively. But these being exceedingly different in 
duration — the Korthern half of the planet having a 
summer exceeding by seventy-six days that of the 
Southern hemisphere — are of no use as accurate divi- 
sions of time. Time is reckoned, accordingly, from the 
first day of the year; the 669th day being incomplete, and 
the newyear beginning at the moment of the Equinox with 
the oth day. In remote ages the lapse of time was marked 
by festivals and holidays occurring at fixed periods ; but 
the principle of utility has long since abolished all anni- 
versaries, except those fixed by Nature, and these pass 
without public observance and almost without notice. 



]\Ieteo7'ology. 1 9 7 

The climate is comparatively equable in the Northern 
hemisphere, the summer of the South being hotter and 
the winter colder, as the planet is much nearer the Sun 
during the former. On an average, the solar disc seems 
about half as large as to eyes on Earth; but the con- 
tinents lying in a belt around the middle of the planet, 
nearly the whole of its population enjoy the advantages 
of tropical regularity. There are two brief rainy seasons 
on the Equator and in its neighbourhood, and one at 
each of the tropics. Outside these the cold of winter 
is aggravated by cloud and mist. The barometer records 
from 20 inches to 2 1 inches at the sea-level. Storms 
are slight, brief, and infrequent ; the tides are insignifi- 
cant ; and sea-voyages were safe and easy even before 
Martial ingenuity devised vessels which are almost in- 
dependent of weather. During the greater part of the 
year a clear sky from the mornmg to the evening zyda 
may be reckoned upon with almost absolute confidence. 
A heavy dew, thoroughly watering the whole surface, 
rendering the rarity of rain no inconvenience to agricul- 
ture, falls during the earlier hours of the night, which 
nevertheless remains cloudy ; while the periods of sunset 
and sunrise are, as 1 have already said, marked almost 
invariably by dense mist, extending from one to four 
thousand feet above the sea-level, according to latitude 
and season. Erom the dissipation of the morning to 
the fall of the evening mist, the tropical temperature 
ranges, according to the time of the day and year, 
from 24° to 35° C. A very sudden change takes 
place at sunset. Except within 28° of the Equator, 
night frosts prevail during no small part of the year. 
Fine nights are at all times chilly, and men employed 



198 Across tJic Zodiac, 

out of doors from the fall of the evening to the dispersal 
of the morning mists rely on an unusually warm under- 
dress of soft leather, as flexible as kid, but thicker, 
which is said to keep in the warmth of the body far 
better than any woven material. Women who, from 
whatever reason, venture out at night, wear the warmest 
cloaks they can procure. Those of limited means wear 
a loosely woven hair or woollen over-robe in lieu of 
their usual outdoor garment, resembling tufted cotton. 
Those who can afford them substitute for the envelope 
of down, described a while back, warm skin or fur over- 
garments, obtained from the sub-arctic lands and seas, 
and furnished sometimes by a creature not very unlike 
our Polar bear, but passing half his time in the water 
and living on fish ; sometimes by a mammal more resem- 
bling something intermediate between the mammoth and 
the walrus, with the habits of the hippopotamus and a fur 
not unlike the sealskin so much affected in Europe. 

Outside the city, at a distance protecting it from 
any unpleasant vapours, which besides were carried 
up metallic tubes of enormous height, were several 
factories of great extent, some chemical, some textile, 
others reducing from their ores, purifying, forging, 
and producing in bulk and forms convenient for their 
various uses, the numerous metals employed in Mars. 
The most important of these — zorinta — is obtained from 
a tenacious soil much resembling our own clay.* It 
is far lighter than tin, has the colour and lustre of 
silver, and never tarnishes, the only rust produced 
by oxidation of its surface being a white loose powder, 

' Aluminium ? — Ed. 



Business. 199 

which can be brushed or shaken off without difficulty. 
Of this nearly all Martial utensils and furniture are 
constructed; and its susceptibility to the electric 
current renders it especially useful for mechanical 
purposes, electricity supplying the chief if not the 
sole motive-power employed in Martial industry. The 
largest factories, however, employ but a few hands, 
the machinery being so perfect as to perform, with 
very little interposition from human hands, the whole 
work, from the first purification to the final arrange- 
ment. I saw a mass of ore as dug out from the ground 
put into one end of a long series of machines, which 
came out, without the slightest manual assistance, at 
the close of a course of operations so directed as to 
bring it back to our feet, in the form of a thin sheet of 
lustrous metal. In another factory a mass of dry 
vegetable fibre was similarly transformed by machinery 
alone into a bale of wonderfully light woven drapery 
resembling satin in lustre, muslin or gauze in texture. 

The streets were what, even in the finest and latest- 
built American cities, would be thought magnificent in 
size and admirable in construction. The roadway was 
formed of that concrete, harder than granite, which is 
the sole material employed in Martial building, and 
which, as I have shown, can take every form and 
texture, from that of jewels or of the finest marble to 
that of plain polished slate. Along each side ran 
avenues of magnificent trees, whose branches met at 
a height of thirty feet over the centre. Between these 
and the houses was a space reserved for the passage 
of light carriages exclusively. The houses, unlike those 
in the country, were from two to four stories in height. 



200 Across the Zodiac. 

All private dwellings, however, were built, as in the 
country, around a square interior garden, and the 
windows, except those of the front rooms employed 
for business purposes, looked out upon this. The space 
occupied, however, was of course much smaller than 
where ground was less precious, few dwellings having 
four chambers on the same floor and front. The foot- 
way ran on the level of what we call the first story, 
over a part of the roof of the ground floor; and the 
business apartments were always the front chambers 
of the former, while the stores of the merchants were 
collected in a single warehouse occupying the whole 
of the ground front. No attempt was made to exhibit 
them as on Earth. I entered with my host a number 
of what we should call shops. In every case he named 
exactly the article he wanted, and it was either pro- 
duced at once or he was told that it was not to be had 
there, a thing which, however, seldom happened. The 
traders are few in number. One or two firms engaged 
in a single branch of commerce do the whole business 
of an extensive province. For instance, all the textile 
fabrics on sale in the province were to be seen in one 
or other of two warehouses ; all metals in sheets, 
blocks, and wires in another ; in a third all finished 
metal-work, except writing materials; all writing, phono- 
graphic, and telegraphic conveniences in a fourth ; all 
furs, feathers, and fabrics made from these in a fifth. 
The tradesman sells on commission, as we say, receiv- 
ing the goods from the manufacturer, the farmer, or 
the State, and paying only for what are sold at the 
end of each year, reserving to himself one-twenty-fourth 
of the price. Prices, however, do not vary from year 



Money. 201 

to year, save when, on rare occasions, an adverse 
season or a special accident affects the supply and 
consequently the price of any natural product — choice 
fruit, skins, silver, for instance — obtained only from 
some peculiarly favoured locality. 

The monetary system, like so many other Martial 
institutions, is purely artificial and severely logical. It 
is held that the exchange value of any article of manu- 
facture or agricultural produce tends steadily downwards, 
while any article obtained by mining labour, or supplied 
by nature alone, tends to become more and more costly. 
The use of any one article of either class as a measure 
of value tends in the long-run to injustice either towards 
creditors or debtors. Labour may be considered as the 
most constant in intrinsic value of all things capable 
of sale or barter ; but the utmost ingenuity of Martial 
philosophers has failed to devise a fixed standard by 
which one kind of labour can be measured against 
another, and their respective productive force, and con- 
sequently their value in exchange, ascertained. One 
thing alone retains in their opinion an intrinsic value 
always the same, and if it increase in value, increases 
only in proportion as all produce is obtained in greater 
quantities or with greater facility. Land, therefore, is in 
their estimation theoretically the best available measure 
of value — a dogma which has more practical truth in a 
planet where population is evenly diffused and increases 
very slowly, if at all, than it might have in the densely 
but unevenly peopled countries of Europe or Asia. A 
staltd, or square of about fifty yards (rather more than 
half an acre), is the primary standard unit of value. For 
purposes of currency this is represented by a small 



202 Across the Zodiac. 

engraved document bearing the Government stamp, 
which can always at pleasure be exchanged for so much 
land in a particular situation. The region whose soil is 
chosen as the standard lies under the Equator, and the 
State possesses there some hundreds of square miles, let 
out on terms thought to ensure its excellent cultivation 
and the permanence of its condition. The immediate 
convertibility of each such document, engraven on a small 
piece of metal about two inches long by one in breadth, 
and the fortieth part of an inch in thickness, is the 
ultimate cause and permanent guarantee of its value. 
Large payments, moreover, have to be made to the State 
by those who rent its lands or purchase the various 
articles of which it possesses a monopoly ; or, again, in 
return for the services it undertakes, as lighting roads 
and supplying water to districts dependent on a distant 
source. Great care is taken to keep the issue of these 
notes within safe limits ; and as a matter of fact they are 
rather more valuable than the land they represent, and 
are in consequence seldom presented for redemption 
therein. To provide against the possibility of such an 
over-issue as might exhaust the area of standard land 
at command of the State, it is enacted that, failing this, 
the holder may select his portion of State domain wher- 
ever he pleases, at twelve years' purchase of the rental ; 
but in point of fact these provisions are theoretically 
rather than practically important, since not one note in 
a hundred is ever redeemed or paid off. The " square 
measure," upon which the coinage, if I may so call it, 
is based, following exactly the measure of length, each 
larger area in the ascending scale represents 144 times 
that below it. Thus the styly being a little more than a 



Connminication. 203 

foot, the sUdy is about 13 feet, or one- twelfth of the 
staXy ; but the stedtd (or square stcdy) is y-l-^th part of 
the stdltd. The stolid, again, is about 600 yards square, 
or 360,000 square yards, 144 times the stdltd. The 
highest note, so to speak, in circulation represents this last 
area ; but all calculations are made in staltau, or twelfths 
thereof. The stdltd will purchase about six ounces of 
gold. Notes are issued for the third, fourth, and twelfth 
parts of this : values smaller than the latter are repre- 
sented by a token coinage of square medals composed 
of an alloy in which gold and silver respectively are the 
principal elements. The lowest coin is worth about 
threepence of English money. 

Stopping at the largest public building in the city, a 
central hexagon with a number of smaller hexagons 
rising around it, we entered one of the latter, each side of 
which might be some 30 feet in length and 1 5 in height. 
Here were rann;ed a large number of instruments on the 
principle of the voice-writer, but conveying the sound 
to a vast distance along electric wires into one which 
reverses the voice-recording process, and repeats the 
vocal sound itself. Through one of these, after exchang- 
ing a few words with one of the oificials in charge of 
them, Esmo carried on a conversation of some length, 
the instrument being so arranged that while the mouth 
is applied to one tube another may be held to the ear 
to receive the reply. In the meantime I fell in with 
one of the officers, apparently very young, who was 
strongly interested at the sight of the much-canvassed 
stranger, and, perhaps on tliis account, far more obliging 
than is common among his countr}Tnen. From him I 
learnt that this, with another method I will presently 



204 Across the Zodiac. 

describe, is tlie sole means of distant communication 
employed in Mars. Those who have not leisure or do not 
care to visit one of the offices, never more than twelve 
miles distant from one another, in which the public 
instruments are kept, can have a wire conveyed to their 
own house. Almost every house of any pretension pos- 
sesses such a wire. Leading me into the next apartment, 
my friend pointed out an immense number of instru- 
ments of a box-like shape, with a slit in which a leaf of 
about four inches by two was placed. These were con- 
stantly ejected and on the instant mechanically replaced. 
The fallen leaves were collected and sorted by the officers 
present, and at once placed in one or other of another 
set of exactly similar instruments. Any one possessing 
a private wire can write at his own desk in the manual 
character a letter or message on one of these slips. 
Placing it in his own instrument, it at once reproduces 
itself exactly in his autograph, and with every peculi- 
arity, blot, or erasure, at the nearest office. Here the 
copy is placed in the proper box, and at once reproduced 
in the office nearest the residence of the ^^erson to whom 
it is addressed, and forw^arded in the same manner to 
him. A letter, therefore, covering one of these slips, and 
saying as much as we could write in an average hand 
upon a large sheet of letter-paper, is delivered within 
five minutes at most from the time of despatch, no 
matter how great the distance. 

I remarked that this method of communication made 
privacy impossible. 

" But," replied the official, " how could we possibly 
have time to indulge in curiosity ? We have to sort 
hundreds of these papers in an hour. We have just 



Comvmnication. 205 

time to look at the address, place them in the proper 
box, and touch the spring which sets the electric current 
at work. If secrecy were needed a cipher would easily 
secure it, for you will observe that by this telegraph 
whatever is inscribed on the sheet is mechanically re- 
produced ; and it would be as easy to send a picture as 
a message." 

I learnt that a post of marvellous perfection had, some 
thousand years ago, delivered letters all over Mars, but 
it was now employed only for the delivery of parcels. 
Perhaps half the commerce of Mars, except that in 
metals and agricultural produce, depends on this post. 
Purchasers of standard articles describe by the telegraph- 
letter to a tradesman the exact amount and pattern of 
the goods required, and these are despatched at once ; 
a system of banking, very completely organised, enabling 
the buyer to pay at once by a telegraphic order. 

When Esmo had finished his business, we walked 
down, at my request, to the port. Around three sides 
of the dock formed by walls, said to be fifty feet in 
depth and twenty in thickness, ran a road close to the 
water's edge, beyond which was again a vast con- 
tinuous warehouse. The inner side was reserved for 
passenger vessels, and everywhere the largest ships 
could come up close, landing either passengers or cargo 
without even the intervention of a plank. The appear- 
ance of the ships is very unlike that of Terrestrial vessels. 
They have no masts or rigging, are constructed of the 
zorinta, which in Mars serves much more effectively all 
the uses of iron, and differ entirely in construction as 
they are intended for cargo or for travel. ^Mercantile 
ships are in sliape much like the finest American 



2o6 Across the Zodiac. 

clippers, but with broad, flat keel and deck, and with a 
hold from fifteen to twenty feet in depth. Like Malayan 
vessels, they have attached by strong bars an external 
beam about fifty feet from the side, which renders 
overturning almost impossible. Passenger ships more 
resemble the form of a fish, but are alike at both ends. 
Six men working in pairs four hours at a time compose 
the entire crew of the largest ship, and half this number 
are required for the smallest that undertakes a voyage 
of more than twelve hours. 

I may here mention that the system of sewage is far 
superior to any yet devised on Earth. No particle of 
waste is allowed to pollute the waters. The whole is de- 
odorised by an exceedingly simple process, and, whether 
in town or country, carried away daily and applied to 
its natural use in fertilising the soil. Our practice of 
throwing away, where it is an obvious and often dan- 
gerous nuisance, material so valuable in its proper place, 
seemed to my Martial friends an inexplicable and almost 
incredible absurdity. 

As we returned, Esmo told me that he had been in 
communication with the Campta, who had desired that 
I should visit him with the least possible delay. 

" This," he said, " will hurry us in matters where I at 
any rate should have preferred a little delay. The seat 
of Government is by a direct route nearly six thousand 
miles distant, and you will have opportunity of travel- 
ling in all the different ways practised on this planet. 
A long land-journey in our electric carriages, with wliich 
you are not familiar, is, I think, to be avoided. The 
Campta would wish to see your vessel as well as your- 
self ; but, on the whole, I think it is safer to leave it 



Etiqziciie. 207 

where it is. Kevima and I propose to accompany you 
during the first part of your journey. At our first halt, 
we will stay one night with a friend, that you may be 
admitted a brother of our Order." 

" And," said I, " what sort of a reception may I ex- 
pect at the end of my journey ? " 

" I think," he answered, " that you are more likely to 
be embarrassed by the goodwill of the Campta than by 
the hostility of some of those about him. His character 
is very peculiar, and it is difficult to reckon upon his 
action in any given case. But he differs from nearly 
all his subjects in having a strong taste for adventure, 
none the less if it be perilous ; and since his position 
prevents him from indulging this taste in person, he 
is the more disposed to take extreme interest in the 
adventures of others. He has, moreover, a great value 
for what you call courage, a virtue rarely needed 
and still more rarely shown among us ; and I fancy 
that your venture through space has impressed him 
with a very high estimate of your daring. Assuredly 
none of us, however great his scientific curiosity, would 
have dreamed of incurring such a peril, and incur- 
ring it alone. But I must give you one warning. It is 
not common among us to make valuable gifts : we do 
not care enough for any but ourselves to give except 
with the idea of getting something valuable in return. 
Our princes are, however, so wealthy that they can o-ive 
without sacrifice, and it is considered a grave affront to 
refuse any present from a superior. Whatever, then, 
our Suzerain may offer you — and he is almost sure, 
unless he should take offence, to give you whatever he 
thinks will induce you to settle permanently in the 



2o8 An'oss the Zodiac. 

neighbourhood of his Court — you must accept graciously, 
and on no account, either then or afterwards, lead him 
to think that you slight his present." 

" I must say," I replied, " that while I wish to remain 
in your world till I have learnt, if not all that is to be 
learnt, yet very much more than I at present know 
about it, the whole purpose of my voyage would be 
sacrificed if I could not effect my return to Earth." 

" I suppose so," he answered, " and for that reason I 
wish to keep your vessel safe and within your reach ; 
for to get away at all you may have to depart suddenly. 
But you will not do wisely to make the Prince suspect 
that such is your intention. Tell him of what you wish 
to see and to explore in this world ; tell him freely of 
your own, for he will not readily fancy that you prefer 
it to this ; but say as little as possible of your hopes of 
an ultimate return, and, if you are forced to acknow- 
ledge them, let them seem as indefinite as possible." 

By this time, returning by another road, Esmo stopped 
the carriage at the gate of an enclosed garden of moderate 
size, about two miles from Ecasfe. Entering alone, he 
presently returned with another gentleman, wearing a 
dress of grey and silver, with a white ribbon over the 
shoulder; a badge, I found, of official rank or duties. 
Mounting his own carriage, this person accompanied us 
home. 



( 209 ) 



CHAPTER X. 

WOMAN AND WEDLOCK. 

We arrived at home in the course of some few minutes, 
and here my host requested us to wait in the hall, 
where in about haif-an-hour he rejoined us, accom- 
panied by all the members of his family, the ladies 
all closely veiled. Looking among them instinctively 
for Eveena, I observed that she had exchanged her 
usual light veil for one fuller and denser, and wore, 
contrary to the wont of maidens indoors, sleeves and 
gloves. She held her father's hand, and evinced no 
little agitation or alarm. The visitor stood by a table 
on which had been placed the usual pencils or styles, 
and a sort of open portfolio, on one side of which was 
laid a small strip of the golden tafroo, inscribed with 
crimson characters of unusual size, leaving several 
blanks here and there. Most of these he filled up, 
and then, leading forward his daughter, Esmo signed 
to me also to approach the table. The others stood just 
behind us, and the official then placed the document 
in Eveena's hand. She looked through it and replaced 
it on the table with the gesture of assent usual among 
her people, inclining her head and raising her left 
hand to her lips. The document was then handed to 

VOL. I. o 



2IO Across the Zodiac. 

me, but I, of course, was unable to read it. I said so, 
and the official read it aloud : — 

" Between Eveena, daughter of Esmo dent Ecasfeu, 

and * redaiiiomortd (the alleged arch-traveller), 

covenant: Eveena will live with in wedlock 

for two years, foregoing during that period the liberty 
to quit his house, or to receive any one therein save 
by his permission. In consideration whereof he will 
maintain her, clothing her to her satisfaction, at a 
cost not exceeding five staltau by the year. He will 
provide for any child or children she may bear while 
living w^ith him, or within twice twelve dozen days 
thereafter. And if at any time he shall dismiss her 
or permit her to leave him, or if she shall desire to 
leave him after the expiration of eight years, he will 
ensure to her for her life an annual payment of 
fifteen staltau. Neither shall appeal to a court of 
law or public authority against the other on account 
of anything done during the time they shall live 
together, except for attempt to kill or for grave bodily 
injury." 

Such is the form of marriage covenant employed in 
Mars. The occasion was unfit for discussion, and I 
simply intimated my acceptance of the covenants, on 
which Eveena and myself forthwith were instructed to 
write our names where they appear in the above trans- 
lation. The official then inquired whether I recognised 
the lady standing beside me as Eveena, daughter of 

* Here, and here only, the name is ■written in full ; but the first 
part is blurred. It may be Alius (Ali), Julius (Jules), Elias, or may 
represent any one of a dozen English surnames. The single cipher 
employed elsewhere throws no light on it. — Ed. 



Woman and Wedlock. 2 1 1 

Esmo. It then struck me that, though I felt pretty 
certain of her identity, marriage under such condi- 
tions might occasionally lead to awkward mistakes. 
There was no such difference between my bride and 
her companions as, but for her dress and her agitation, 
w^ould have enabled me positively to distinguish them, 
veiled and silent as all were. I expressed no doubt, 
however, and the official then proceeded to affix his 
own stamp to the document ; and then lifting up that 
on which our names had actually been written, showed 
that, by some process I hardly understand, the signa- 
ture had been executed and the agreement filled up 
in triplicate, the officer preserving one copy, the others 
being given to the bride and bridegroom respectively. 
The ladies then retired, Esmo, his son, and the official 
remaining, when two ambau brought in a tray of 
refreshments. The official tasted each article offered 
to him, evidently more as a matter of form than of 
pleasure. I took this opportunity to ask some ques- 
tions regarding the Martial cuisine, and learnt that all 
but the very simplest cookery is performed by profes- 
sional confectioners, who supply twice a day the house- 
holds in their vicinity; unmarried men taking their 
meals at the shop. The preparation of fruit, roasted 
grain, beverages consisting of juices mixed with a 
prepared nectar, and the vegetables from the garden, 
which enter into the composition of every meal, are the 
only culinary cares of the ladies of the family. Every- 
thing can be warmed or freshened on the stove which 
forms a part of that electric machinery by which in 
every household the baths and lights are supplied and 
the house warmed at night. The ladies have therefore 



2 1 2 Across the Zodiac. 

very little household work, and the greater part of 
this is performed under their superintendence by the 
animals, which are almost as useful as any human 
slaves on earth, with the one unquestionable advantage 
that they cannot speak, and therefore cannot be im- 
pertinent, inquisitive, or treacherous. No fermented 
liquors form part of the Martial diet ; but some nar- 
cotics resembling haschisch and opium are much 
relished. "When the official had retired, I said to my 
host — 

" I thought it best to raise no question or objection 
in signing the contract put before me with your sanc- 
tion; but you must be aware, in the first place, that 
I have no means here of performing the pecuniary 
part of the covenant, no means of providing either 
maintenance or pin-money." 

The explanation of the latter phrase, wliich was 
immediately demanded, produced not a little amuse- 
ment, after which Esmo replied gravely — 

" It will be very easy for you, if necessary, to realise 
a competence in the course of half a year. A book 
relating your adventures, and describing the world you 
have left, would bring you in a very comfortable 
fortune ; and you might more than double this by 
giving addresses in each of our towns, which, if only 
from the curiosity our people would entertain to see 
you with their own eyes, would attract crowded audi- 
ences. You could get a considerable sum for the 
exclusive right to take your likeness ; and, if you chose 
to explain it, you might fix your own price on the 
novel motive power you have introduced. But there 
is another point in regard to the contract which you 



Woinaii and Wedlock. 213 

have overlooked, but which I was bound to bear iu 
mind. What you have promised is, I believe, what 
Eveena would have obtained from any suitor she was 
likely to accept. But since you left the matter entirely 
to my discretion, I am bound to make it impossible 
that you should be a loser ; and this document (and he 
handed me a small slip very much like that which con- 
tained the marriage covenant) imposes on my estate 
the payment of an income for Eveena's life equal to 
that you have promised her." 

With much reluctance I found myself obliged to 
accept a dowTy which, however natural and proper on 
Earth, was, I felt, unusual in Mars. I may say that 
such charges do not interfere with the free sale of land. 
They are registered in the proper office, and the State 
trustee collects them from the owner for the time being 
as quit-rents are collected in Great Britain or land 
revenue in India. Turning to another but kindred 
question, I said — 

" Your marriage contract, like our own laws, appears 
to favour the weaker sex more than strict theoretical 
equality would permit. This is quite right and practi- 
cally inevitable ; but it hardly agrees with the theory 
wliich supposes bride and bridegroom, husband and 
wife, to enter on and maintain a coequal voluntary 
partnership." 

" How so ? " he inquired. 

" The right of divorce," I said, " at the end of two 
years belongs to the wife alone. The husband cannot 
divorce her except under a heavy penalty." 

" Observe," he answered, " that there is a grave prac- 
tical inequality which even theory can hardly ignore. 



214 Across the Zodiac. 

The wife parts with something by the very fact of 
marriage. At the end of two years, when she has 
borne two, three, or fouB children, her value in marriage 
is greatly lessened. Her capacity of maintaining her- 
self, in the days when women did work, was found 
practically to be even smaller than before marriage. 
You may say that this really amounts to a recognition 
by custom of the natural inequality denied by law ; 
but at any rate, it is an inequality which it was scarcely 
possible to overlook. Examine the practical working 
of the covenants, and you will find that in affecting to 
treat unequals as equals they merely make the weaker 
the slave of the stronger." 

" Surely," I said, " husband and wife are so far equal, 
where neither is tied to the children, that each can 
make the other heartily glad to assent to a divorce." 

" Perhaps, where law interferes to enforce monogamy, 
and thereby to create an artificial equality of mutual 
dependence. But our law cannot dictate to equals, 
whose sex it ignores, the terms or numbers of partner- 
ship. So, the terms of the contract being voluntary, 
men of course insist on excluding legal interference in 
household quarrels ; and before the prohibitive clause 
was generally adopted, legal interposition did more 
harm than good. As you will find, equality before the 
law gives absolute effect to the real inequality, and 
chiefly through its coarsest element, superior physical 
force. The liberty that is a necessary logical conse- 
quence of equality takes from the woman her one 
natural safeguard — the man's need of her goodwill, if 
not of her affection." 

" In our world," I replied, " I always held that even 



Woman and Wedlock. 215 

slaves, so they be household slaves, are secure against 
gross cruelty. The owner cannot make life a burden 
to them without imperilling his own. To reduce the 
question to its lowest terms — malice will always be a 
match for muscle, and poison an efficient antidote to the 
ferula." 

" So," rejoined Esmo, " our men have perceived, and 
consequently they have excepted attempts to murder, 
as the women have excepted serious bodily injury, from 
the general rule prohibiting appeals to a court of law." 

" And," said I, " are there many such appeals ? " 

" Not one in two years," he replied ; " and for a 
simple reason. Our law, as matter of course and of 
common sense, puts murder, attempted or accomplished, 
on the same footing, and visits both with its supreme 
penalty. Consequently, a wife detected in such an 
attempt is at her husband's mercy ; and if he consent 
to spare her life, she must submit to any infliction, how- 
ever it may transgress the covenanted limit. In fact, 
if he find her out in such an attempt, he may do any- 
thing but put her to death on his own authority." 

" Still," I answered, " as long as she remains in the 
house, she must have frequent opportunity of repeat- 
ing her attempt at revenge; and to live in constant 
fear of assassination would break down the strongest 
nerves." 

" Our physicians," he said, " are more skilful in anti- 
dotes than our women in poisons, even when the latter 
have learned chemistry. No poisonous plants are grown 
near our houses ; and as wives never go out alone, they 
have little chance of getting hold of any fatal drug. I 
believe that very few attempts to poison are successful, 



2 1 6 Across the Zodiac. 

and that many women have suffered very severely on 
mere suspicion." 

" And what," I asked, " is the legal definition of ' grave 
bodily injury ' ? " 

" Injury," he said, " of which serious traces remain at 
the end of twenty-four days ; the destruction of a limb, 
or the deprivation, partial or total, of a sense. I have 
often thought bitterly," he continued, " of that boasted 
logic and liberality of our laws under which my 
daughters might have to endure almost any maltreat- 
ment from their husbands, so long as these have but 
the sense not to employ weapons that leave almost 
ineffaceable marks. This is one main reason why we 
so anxiously avoid giving them save to those who are 
bound by the ties of our faith to treat them as kindly 
as children — for whom, at the worst, they remain sisters 
of the Order. If women generally had parents, our 
marriage law could never have carried out the fiction 
of equality to its logical perfection and practical mon- 
strosity." 

" Equality, then, has given your women a harder life 
and a worse position than that of those women in our 
world who are, not only by law but by fact and custom, 
the slaves of their husbands ? " 

" Yes, indeed," he said ; " and our proverbs, though 
made by men, express this truth with a sharpness in 
which there is little exacrcreration. Our school text- 
books tell us that action and reaction are equal and 
opposite; and this familiar phrase gives meaning to 
the saw, Fdmavh dakdl dakh, ' She is equal, the thing 
struck to the hammer,' meaning that woman's equality 
to man is no more effective than the reaction of the 



Woman and Wedlock. 2 1 7 

leather on the mallet, ' Bitterer smiles of twelve than 
tears of ten ' (referring to the age of marriage). Thlcen 
dclkint trecn lalfe zevlecn. ' 'Twixt fogs and clouds she 
dreams of stars.' " 

" What does that mean ? " 

" Would you not render it in the terminology of the 
hymn you translated for us, 'Between Purgatory and 
Hell, one dream of Heaven ? ' Still puzzled ? ' Between 
the harshness of school and the misery of marriage, 
the illusions of the bride.' Again, Zcfoo zevleel, zave 
marncd, clafte cratheneel, 'A child [cries] for the 
stars, a maiden for the matron's dress, a woman for 
her shroud.' " 

" Do you mean to say that that is not exaggerated ? " 

" I suppose it is, as women are even less given to 
suicide than men. That is perhaps the ugliest proverb 
of its kind. I will only quote one more, and that is 
two-edged — 

' Fool lie who heeds a woman's tears, to woman's tongue replies ; 
Fool she who braves man's hand — but when was man or woman wise ? '" 

Here Zulve came to the door and made a sign to her 
husband. Waiting courteously to ascertain that I had 
finished speaking, and until his son had somewhat 
ceremoniously taken leave of me, he led me to the 
door of a chamber next to that I had hitherto occupied. 
Pausing here himself, he motioned me to go on, and the 
door parting, I found myself in a room I had not before 
entered, about the same size as my own and similarly 
furnished, but differently coloured, now communicating 
with it by a door which I knew had not previously existed. 
Here were Eveena's mother and sister, dressed as usual. 



2i8 Across tJic Zodiac. 

Eveena herself had exchanged her maiden white for the 
light pink of a young matron, but was closely veiled in 
a similar material. Her mother and sister kissed her 
with much emotion, though without the tears and 
lamentations, real or affected, with which — alike among 
the nomads of Asia and the most cultivated races of 
Europe — even those relatives who have striven hardest 
to marry a daughter or sister think it necessary to cele- 
brate the fulfilment of their hopes, and the termination 
of their often prolonged and wearisome labours. I was 
then left alone with my bride, wdio remained half- 
seated, half-crouching on the cushions in a corner of 
the room. I could not help feeling keenly how much a 
marriage so unceremonious and with so little previous 
acquaintance, or rather so great a reserve and distance 
in our former intercourse, intensified the awkwardness 
many a man on Earth feels when first left alone with 
the partner of his future life. But a single glance at 
the small drooping figure half-hidden in the cushions 
brought the reflection that a situation, embarrassing to 
the bridegroom, must be in the last degree alarming 
and distressing to the bride. But for her visit to the 
Astronaut we should have been almost strangers ; I 
could hardly have recognised even her voice. I must, 
however, speak ; and naturally my first sentence was a 
half-articulate request that she would remove her veil. 
" No," .she whispered, rising, " you must do that." 
Taking off the glove of her left hand, she came up to 
me shyly and slowly, and placed it in my right — a not 
unmeaning ceremony. Having obeyed her instruction, 
my lips touched for the first time the brow of my young 
wife. That she was more than shy and startled, was 



Woman and Wedlock. 2 1 9 

even painfully agitated and frightened, became instantly 
apparent now that her countenance was visible. What 
must be the state of Martial brides in general, when the 
signature of the contract immediately places them at the 
disposal of an utter stranger, it was beyond the power 
of my imagination to conceive, if their feelings were at 
all to be measured by Eveena's under conditions suffi- 
ciently trying, but certainly far better than theirs. 
Nothing was so likely to quiet her as perfect calmness 
on my side ; and, though with a heart beating almost as 
fast as her own, if with very different emotions, I led 
her gently back to her place, and resting on a cushion 
just out of reach, began to talk to her. Choosing as the 
easiest subject our adventure of yesterday, I asked what 
could have induced her to place herself in a situation so 
dangerous. 

" Do not be angry with me now," she pleaded. " I 
am exceedingly fond of flowers ; they have been my 
only amusement except the training of my pets. You 
can see how little women have to do, how little occupa- 
tion or interest is permitted us. The rearing of rare 
flowers, or the creation of new ones, is almost the only 
employment in which we can find exercise for such 
intelligence as we possess. I had never seen before the 
flower that grew on that shelf. I believe, indeed, that 
it only grows on a few of our higher mountains below 
the snow-line, and I was anxious to bring it home and 
see what could be made of it in the garden. I thought 
it might be developed into something almost as beauti- 
ful as that bright lecnoo you admired so greatly in my 
flower-bed." 

" But," said I, " the two flowers are not of the same 



2 20 Across the Zodiac. 

shape or colour; and, though I am not learned in botany, 
I should say hardly belong to the same family." 

" No," she said. " But with care, and with proper 
management of our electric apparatus, I accomplished 
this year a change almost as great, I can show you in 
my flower-bed one little white flower, of no great beauty 
and conical in shape, from which I have produced in 
two years another, saucer-shaped, pink, and of thrice 
the size, almost exactly realising an imaginary flower 
drawn by my sister-in-law to represent one of which 
she had dreamed. We can often produce the very 
shape, size, and colour we wish from something that at 
first seems to have no likeness to it whatever; and I 
have been told that a skilful farmer will often obtain a 
fruit, or, what is more difficult, an animal, to answer 
exactly the ideal he has formed." 

" Some of our breeders," I said, "profess to develop a 
sort of ideal of any given species ; but it takes many 
generations, by picking and choosing those that vary in 
the right direction, to accomphsh anything of the kind ; 
and, after all, the difference between the original and 
the improved form is mere development, not essential 
change." 

She hardly seemed to understand this, but answered — 

"The seedhng or rootlet would be just like the 
original plant, if we did not from the first control its 
growth by means of our electric frames. But if you 
will allow me, I will show you to-morrow what I have 
done in my own flower-bed, and you will have oppor- 
tunities of seeing afterwards how very much more is 
done by agriculturists with much more time and much 
more potent electricities." 



Woman and Wedlock. 2 2 1 

"At any rate," I said, "if I had known your'object. 
you certainly should have had the flowers for which 
you risked so much : and if I remain here three days 
longer, I promise you plenty of specimens for your 
experiment." 

" You do not mean to go back to the Astronaut ? " 
she asked, with an air of absolute consternation. 

" I had not intended to do so," I replied, " for it 
seems to be perfectly safe under your father's seal and 
your stringent laws of property. But now, if time 
permit, I must get these flowers to which you tell me I 
am so deeply indebted." 

"You are veri/ kind," returned Eveena earnestly, 
" but I entreat you not to venture there again. I 
should be utterly miserable while you were running 
such a risk again, and for such a trifle." 

" It is no such terrible risk to me, and to please you 
is not quite a trifle. Besides, I ought to deserve my 
prize better than I have yet done. But you seem to 
have some especial spite against the unlucky vessel 
that brought me here ; and that," I added, smiling, 
" seems hardly gracious in a bride of an hour." 

" No, no ! " she murmured, evidently much distressed ; 
" but the vessel that brought you here may take you 
away." 

" I will not pain you yet by saying that I hope it 
may. At all events, it shall not do so till you are con- 
tent that it should." 

She made no answer, and seemed for some time to 
hesitate, as if afraid or unwilling to say something 
which rose irrepressibly to her lips. A few persuasive 
words, however, encouraged her, and she found her voice, 



222 Across the Zodiac. 

though with a faltering accent, which greatly surprised 
me when I learned at last the purport of her request. 

"I do not understand," she said, "your ideas or 
customs, but I know they are different from ours. I 
have found at least that they make you much more 
indulgent and tender to women than our own ; and I 
hope, therefore, you will forgive me if I ask more than 
I have any right to do." 

" I could scarcely refuse my bride's first request, 
whatever it might be. But your hesitation and your 
apologies might make me fear that you are about to ask 
something which one or both of us may wish hereafter 
had neither been asked nor granted." 

She still hesitated and faltered, till I began to fancy 
that her wish must have a much graver import than I 
at first supposed. Perhaps to treat the matter lightly 
and sportively would be the course most likely to en- 
courage her to explain it. 

" What is it, child," I asked, " which you think the 
stranger of another world more likely to grant than one 
of your own race, and which is so extravagant, never- 
theless, that you tremble to ask it even from me ? Is 
it too much to be bound not to appeal against me to 
the law, which cannot yet determine whether I am a 
reality or a fiction ? Or have I proved my arm a little 
too substantial ? Must the giant promise not to exercise 
the masculine prerogative of physical force safely con- 
ceded to the dwarf ? Fie, Eveena ! I am almost afraid 
to touch you, lest I should hurt you unawares; lest ten- 
derness itself should transgress the limit of legal cruelty, 
and do grave bodily harm to a creature so much more 
like a fairy than a woman ! " 



Woman and Wedlock. 223 

" No, no ! " she expostulated, not at all reciprocating 
the jesting tone in which I spoke. " If you would con- 
sent to give such a promise, it is just one of those we 
should wish unmade. How could I ask you to promise 
that I may behave as ill as I please ? I dare say I shall 
be frightened to tears when you are angry ; but I shall 
never wish you to retain your anger rather than vent it 
and forgive. The proverb says, ' AVlio punishes pardons; 
who hates awaits.' No, pray do not play with me ; I 
am so much in earnest, I know that I don't under- 
stand where and why your thoughts and ways are so 
unlike ours. But — but — I thought — I fancied — you 
seemed to hold the tie between man and wife something 
more — faster — more lasting — than — our contract has 
made it." 

" Certainly ! With us it lasts for Kfe at least ; and 
even here, where it may be broken at pleasure, I should 
not have thought that, on the very bridal eve, the 
coldest heart could willingly look forward to its disso- 
lution." 

She was too innocent of such a thought — perhaps too 
much absorbed by her own purpose — to catch the hint 
of unjust reproach. 

" Well, then," she said, with a desperate effort, in a 
voice that trembled between the fear of offending by 
presumption or exaction, and the desire to give utter- 
ance to her wish — " I want . . . will you say that — if 
by that time you do not think that I have been too 
faulty, too undeserving — that I shall go with you when 
you quit this world ? " And, her eagerness at last over- 
powering her shyness, she looked up anxiously into my 
face. 



2 24 Across the Zodiac. 

We wholly misconceived each other. She drooped 
in bitter disappointment, mistaking my blank surprise 
for displeasure ; her words brought over my mind a 
rush of that horror with which I ever recall the scenes 
I witnessed but too often at Indian funerals. 

" That, of course, will rest with yourself. But even 
should I hereafter deserve and win such love as would 
prompt the wish, I trust you will never dream of cut- 
ting short your life because — in the ordinary course of 
nature — mine should end long before the term of 
yours." 

Her face again brightened, and she looked up more 
shyly but not less earnestly. 

" I did not make my meaning clear," she replied. 
" I spoke not, as my father sometimes speaks, of leaving 
this world, when he means to remind us that death is 
only a departure to another ; though that was, not so 
long ago, the only meaning the words could bear. I 
was thinking of your journey, and I want you to take 
me with you when you go." 

" You have quite settled in your own mind that I 
shall go ! And in truth you have now removed, as you 
yesterday created, the only obstacle. If you would not 
go with me, I might, rather than give you up, have 
given up the whole purpose of my enterprise, and have 
left my friends, and the world from which I came, 
ignorant whether it had ever been accomplished. But 
if you accompany me, I shall certainly try to regain 
my own planet." 

" Then," she said hopefully, but half confidently, 
" when you go, if I have not given you cause of lasting 
displeasure, you v:ill take me with you ? Most men do 



lVo?naii and J J ^ed lock. 225 

not think much of promises, especially of promises 
made to women ; but I have lieard you speak as if to 
break a plighted word were a thing impossible." 

" I promise," I returned earnestly, very much moved 
by a proof of real affection such as I had no right to 
expect, and certainly had not anticipated. " I give you 
the word of one who has never lied, that if, when the 
time comes, you wish to go with me, you shall. But 
by that time, you will probably have a better idea what 
are the dangers you are asking to share." 

'' What can that matter ? " she answered. " I suppose 
in almost any case we should escape or die together ? 
To leave me here is to inflict certainly, and at once, the 
worst that can possibly befall me ; to take me gives me 
the hope of living or dying with you ; and even if I 
were killed, I should be with you, and feel that you 
were kind to me, to the last," 

" I little thought," said I, hesitating long for some 
expression of tenderness, which the language of Mars 
refuses to furnish, — " I little thought to find in a world 
of which selfishness seems to be the paramount principle, 
and the absence of real love even between man and 
woman the most prevalent characteristic, a wife so true 
to the best and deepest meaning of wedlock. Still less 
could I have hoped to find such a wife in one who had 
scarcely spoken to me twenty - four hours before our 
marriage. If my unexampled adventure had had no 
other reward — if I had cared nothing for the triumph 
of discovering a new world with all its wonders — 
Eveena, this discovery alone is reward in full for all my 
studies, toils, and perils. For all I have done and risked 

VOL. I. P 



2 26 Ac7'oss the Zodiac. 

already, for all the risks of the future, I am tenfold 
repaid in winning you." 

She looked up at these words with an expression in 
which there was more of bewilderment and incredulity 
than of satisfaction, evidently touched by the earnest- 
ness of my tone, but scarcely understanding my w^ords 
better than if I had spoken in my own tongue. It 
would not be worth while to record the next hours 
conversation ; I would only note the strong and painful 
impression it left upon my mind. There was in Eveena's 
language and demeanour a timidity — a sort of tentative 
fearful venturing as on dangerous ground, feeling her 
way, as it were, in almost every sentence — whicli could 
not be wholly attributed to the shyness of a very young 
and very suddenly wedded bride. There was enough 
and to spare of this shyness ; but more of the sheer 
physical or nervous fear of a child suddenly left in 
hands wliose reputed severity has thoroughly frightened 
her ; not daring to give offence by silence, but afraid at 
each, word to give yet more fatal offence in speaking. 
Longer experience of a world in which even the first 
passion of love is devoid of tenderness — in which as- 
serted equality has long since deprived women of that 
claim to indulgence which can only rest on acknow- 
ledged weakness — taught me but too well the meaning 
of this fearful, trembling anxiety to please, or rather 
not to offend. I suppose that even a brutal master 
hardly likes to see a child cower in his presence as if 
constantly expecting a blow ; and this cowering was so 
evident in my bride's demeanour, that, after trying for 
a couple of hours to coax her into confidence and 
unreserved feminine fluency, I began to feel almost 



IVoma/i and Wedlock. 227 

impatient. It was fortunate that, just as my tone 
involuntarily betrayed to her quick and watchful ear 
some shade of annoyance, just as I caught a furtive 
upward glance that seemed to ask what error she had 
committed and how it might be repaired, a scratching 
on the door startled her. She did not, however, venture 
to disengage herself from the hand which now held 
her own, but only moved half-imperceptibly aside with 
a slight questioning look and gesture, as if tacitly asking 
to be released. As I still held her fast, she was silent, 
till the unnoticed scratching had been two or three 
times repeated, and then half -whispered, " Shall I tell 
them to come in ? " AVhen I released her, there appeared 
to my surprise at her call, no human intruder, but one 
of the ambau, bearing on a tray a goblet, which, as he 
l)laced it on a table beside us, I perceived to contain a 
liquid rather different from any yet offered me. The 
presence of these mute servants is generally no more 
heeded than that of our cats and dogs ; but I now learnt 
that Martial ideas of delicacy forbid them, even as human 
servants would be forbidden, to intrude imannounced 
on conjugal privacy. When the little creature had 
departed, I tasted the liquid, but its flavour was ^so 
unpleasant that I set down the vessel immediately. 
Eveena, however, took it up, and drinking a part of it, 
with an effort to control the grimace of dislike it pro- 
voked, held it up to me again, so evidently expecting 
and inviting me to share it that courtesy permitted no 
further demur. A second sign or look, when I set it 
down unemptied, induced me to finish the draught, 
liegarding the matter as some trivial but indispensable 
ceremonial, I took no further notice of it ; but, thankful 



2 28 Ac7'oss the Zodiac. 

for the diversion it had given to my thoughts, continued 
my endeavours to soothe and encourage my fair com- 
panion. After a few minutes it seemed as if she were 
somewhat suddenly gaining courage and confidence. 
At the same time I myself became aware of a mental 
effect which I promptly ascribed to the draught. Nor 
was I wrong. It contained one of those drugs which 
I have mentioned ; so rarely used in this house that I 
had never before seen or tasted any of them, but given, 
as matter of course, on any occasion that is supposed to 
involve unusual agitation or make an exceptional call 
on nerves or spirits. But for the influence of this cup 
I should still have withheld the remark which, never- 
theless, I had resolved to make as soon as I could hope 
to do so without annoying or alarming Eveena. 

" Are you afraid of me ? " I asked somewhat abruptly. 
The question may have startled her, but I was more 
startled by the answer. 

" Of course," she said in a tone which would have 
been absolutely matter of fact, except that the doubt 
evidently surprised her. " Ought I not to be so ? But 
what made you ask ? And what had I done to 
displease you, just before they sent us the 'courage 
cup'?" 

" I did not mean to show anything like displeasure," I 
replied. " But I was thinking then, and I may tell you 
now, that you remind me not of the women of my own 
Earth, but of petted children suddenly transferred to a 
harsh school. You speak and look like such a child, 
as if you expected each moment at least to be severely 
scolded, if not beaten, without knowing your fault." 

" Not yet," she murmured, with a smile which seemed 



lVoma7i and Wedlock, 229 

to me more painful than tears would have been. " But 
please don't speak as if I should fear anything so much 
as being scolded by you. We have a saying that ' the 
hand may bruise the skin, the tongue can break the 
heart.' " 

" True enough," I said ; " only on Earth it is mostly 
woman's tongue that breaks the heart, and men must 
not in return bruise the skin." 

" AVhy not ? " she asked, "You said to my mother 
the other day that Arga (the fretful child of Esnio's 
adoption) deserved to be beaten." 

" Women are supposed," I answered, " to be amenable 
to milder influences ; and a man must be drunk or 
utterly brutal before he could deal harshly with a 
creature so gentle and so fragile as yourself." 

" Don't spoil me," she said, with a pretty half-mourn- 
ful, half-playful glance. " ' A petted bride makes an 
unhappy wife.' Surely it is no true kindness to tempt 
us to count on an indulgence that cannot last." 

" There is among us," I rejoined, " a saying about 
' breaking a butterfly on the "U'heel ' — as if one spoke 
of driving away the tiny birds that nestle and feed in 
your flowers with a hammer. To apply your proverbs 
to yourself would be to realise this proverb of ours. 
Can you not let me pet and spoil my little flower-bird 
at least till I have tamed her, and trust me to chastise 
her as soon as she shall give reason — if I can find a 
tendril or flower-stem light enough for the purpose ? " 

" Will you promise to use a hammer when you wish 
to be rid of her ? " said she, glancing up for one moment 
through her drooping lashes with a look exactly attuned 
to the mingled archness and pathos of her tone. 



( 2S0 ) 



CHAPTER XI. 

A CO UN TR V D i: I V E. 

Like all IMartialists, I had been accustomed since my 
landing to wake "with the first light of dawn ; but the 
draught, though its earlier effects were anything but 
narcotic or stupifying, deepened and prolonged my 
sleep. It was not till the rays of sunlight came clear 
and full through the crystal roof of the peristyle, and 
the window of our bridal chamber, that my eyes 
unclosed. The first object on which they opened 
startled me into full waking recollection. Exactly 
where the sunbeams fell, just within reach of my hand, 
Eveena stood ; the loveliest creature I ever beheld, a 
miniature type of faultless feminine grace and beauty. 
By the standard of Terrestrial humanity she was tiny 
rather than small: so light, so perfect in proportion, 
form, and features, so absolutely beautiful, so exquisitely 
delicate, as to suggest the ideal Fairy Queen realised in 
flesh and blood, rather than any properly human loveli- 
ness. In the transparent delicacy of a complexion 
resembling that of an infant child of the fairest and 
most tenderly nurtured among the finest races of Europe, 
in the ideally perfect outline of face and features — the 
noble but even forehead — tlie smooth, straight, clearly 
pencilled eyebrows — the large almond-shaped eyes and 



A Cotmtry Drive. 2 3 1 

drooping lids, with their long, dark, soft fringe — the litl:le 
mouth and small, white, even regular teeth — the rosy lips, 
slightly compressed, save when parted in speech, smile, 
or eager attention — she exhibited in their most perfect 
but by no means fullest development the characteristics 
of Martial physiognomy; or rather the characteristic 
beauty of a family in which the finest traits of that 
physiognomy are unmixed with any of its meaner or 
harsher peculiarities. The hands, long, slight, and soft, 
the unsandalled feet, not less perfectly shaped, could 
only have belonged to the child of ancestors who for 
more than a hundred generations have never known 
hard manual toil, rough exposure, or deforming, cramp- 
ing costume ; even as every detail of her beauty bore wit- 
ness to an immemorial inheritance of health unbroken 
by physical infirmity, undisturbed by violent passions, 
and developed by an admirable system of physical and 
mental discipline and culture. The absence of veil and 
sleeves left visible the soft rounded arms and shoulders, 
in whose complexion a tinge of pale rose seemed to 
shine through a skin itself of translucent white ; the 
small head, and the perfection of the slender neck, 
with the smooth unbroken curve from the ear to the 
arm. Her long hair, fastened only by a silver band 
woven in and out behind the small rounded ears, fell 
almost to her knee ; and, as it caught the bright rays of 
the morning sun, I discerned for the first time the full 
beauty of that tinge of gold which varied the colour of 
the rich, soft, brown tresses. As her sex are seldom 
exposed to the cold of the night or the mists, their 
underclothing is slight and close fitting. Eveena's thin 
robe, of the simplest possible form — two wide straight 



2 34 Across the Zodiac. 

resemble them externally the more my uulikeness in 
all else is likely to attract notice. I am sorry for this, 
because women are by nature prone to judge even tlieir 
nearest and dearest by the standard of fashion, and to 
exact from men almost as close a conformity to that 
standard as they themselves display. I fear you will 
have to forgive many heresies in my conduct as well as 
in my thoughts." 

" You cannot suppose," she answered earnestly — she 
seemed incapable of apprehending irony or jest, — " that 
I should wish you more like others than you are. 
"VMiatever may happen hereafter, I shall always feel 
myself the happiest of women in having belonged to 
one who cares for something beside himself, and holds 
even life cheaper than love." 

" I hope so, carissima. But in that matter there was 
scarcely more of love than of choice. "Wliat I did for 
you I must have done no less for Zevle pier sister]. If 
I had feared death as much as the Eegent does, I could 
not have returned alive and alone. My venture into 
infinite space involved possibilities of horror more ap- 
palling than the mere terrors of death. You asked of 
me as my one bridal gift leave to share its perils. 
How unworthy of you should I be, if I did not hold tlie 
possession of Eveena, even for the two years of her pro- 
mise, well worth dying for ! " 

The moral gulf between the two worlds is wider than 
the material. Utterly unselfish and trustful, Eveena 
was almost pained to be reminded that the service she 
so extravagantly overprized M-as rendered to her sex 
rather than herself; while yet more deeply gratified, 
though still half incredulous, by the commonplace that 



A Coitntry Drive. 235 

preferred love to life. I had yet to learn, however, 
that Eveena's nature was as utterly strange in her own 
world as the ideas in which she was educated would 
seem in mine. 

I left her for a few minutes to dress for the first 
time in the costume which Esmo's care had provided. 
The single under- vestment of softest hide, closely fitting 
from neck to knees, is of all garments the best adapted 
to preserve natural warmth under the rapid and extreme 
changes of the external atmosphere. The outer garb con- 
sisted of blouse and trousers, woven of a fabric in which 
a fine warp of metallic lustre was crossed by a strong 
silken weft, giving the effect of a diapered scarlet 
and silver; both fastened by the belt, a broad green 
strap of some species of leather, clasped with gold. 
Masculine dress is seldom brilliant, as is that of the 
women, but convenient and comfortable beyond any 
other, and generally handsome and elegant. The one 
part of the costume which I could never approve is the 
sandal, which leaves the feet exposed to dust and cold, 
liejoining my bride, I said — 

" I have had no opportunity of seeing much of this 
country, and I fancy from what I have seen of feminine 
seclusion that an excursion would be as much a holiday 
treat to you as to myself. If your father will lend us 
his carriage, would you like to accompany me to one or 
two places Kevima has described not far from this, and 
which I am anxious to visit ? " 

She bent her head, but did not answer ; and fancying 
that the proposal was not agreeable to her, I added — 

"If you prefer to spend our little remaining time 
here with your mother and sister, I will ask your 



236 Across the Zodiac. 

brother to accompany me, thougli I am selfislily un- 
willing to part with you to-day." 

She looked up for a moment with an air of pain and 
perplexity, and as she turned away I saw the tears 
gather in her eyes. 

" What is the matter ? " I asked, surprised and puzzled 
as one on Earth who tries to please a woman by offering 
her her own way, and finds that, so offered, it is the last 
thing she cares to have. It did not occur to me that, 
even in trilles, a Martial wife never dreams that her 
taste or wish can signify, or be consulted where her lord 
has a preference of his own. To invite instead of com- 
manding her companionship was unusual ; to withdraw 
the expression of my own wish, and bid her decide for 
herself, was in Eveena's eyes to mark formally and 
deliberately that I did not care for her society. 

" What have I done," she faltered, " to be so punished? 
I have not, save the day before yesterday, left the house 
this year; and you offer me the greatest of pleasures 
only to snatch it away the next moment." 

" Nay, Eveena ! " I answered. " If I had not told you, 
you must know that I cannot but wish for your com- 
pany ; but by your silence I fancied you disliked my 
proposal, yet did not like to decline it." 

The expression of surprise and perplexity in her face, 
though half pathetic, seemed so comical that I with 
difficulty suppressed a laugh, because for her it was 
evidently no laughing matter. After giving her time, 
as I thought, to recover herself, I said — 

" Well, I suppose we may now join them at the morn- 
ing meal ? " 

Something was still wrong, the clue to which I 



A Country Drive. 237 

gathered by observing her shy glance at her head-dress 
and veil. 

" Must you wear those ? " I asked — a question which 
gave her some such imperfect clue to my thoughts as 
I had found to hers. 

" How foolish of me," she said, smiling, " to forget 
how little you can know of our customs ! Of course I 
must wear my veil and sleeves ; but to-day you must 
put on the veil, as you removed it last night." 

The awkwardness wdth which I performed this duty 
had its effect in amusing and cheering her ; and the look 
of happiness and trust had come back to her counten- 
ance before the veil concealed it. 

I made my request to Esmo, who answered, with some 
amusement — 

" Every house like ours has from six to a dozen larger 
or lighter carriages. Of course they cost nothing save 
the original purchase. They last for half a lifetime, and 
pre not costly at the outset. But I have news for you 
which, I venture to think, will be as little agreeable 
to you as to ourselves. Your journey must begin to- 
morrow, and this, therefore, is the only opportunity you 
will have for such an excursion as you propose." 

" Then," I said, " will Eveena still wish to share it ? " 

Even her mother's face seemed to ask what in the 
world that could matter ; but a movement of the 
daughter's veiled head reminded me that I was blunder- 
ing ; and pressing her little hand as she lay beside me, 
I took her compliance for granted. 

The morning mist had given place to hot bright sun- 
shine when w^e started. At first our road lay between 
enclosures like that which surrounded Esmo's dwelling. 



238 Across the Zodiac. 

Presently the lines M'ere broken here and there by sucli 
fields as I had seen in descending from Asnyca ; some 
filled with crops of human food, some with artificial 
pastures, in which Unicorns or other creatures were 
feeding. I saw also more than one field wherein the 
carvec were weeding or gathering fruit, piling their 
burdens in either case as soon as their beaks were full 
into bass or baskets. Pointing out to Eveena the strik- 
ing difference of colour between the cultivated fields 
and gardens and the woods or natural meadows on the 
mountain sides, I learned from her that this distinction 
is everywhere perceptible in Mars. Natural objects, 
plants or animals, rocks and soil, are for the most part 
of dimmer, fainter, or darker tints than on Earth ; pro- 
bably owing to the much less intense light of the Sun ; 
partly, perhaps, to that absorption of the blue rays by 
tlie atmosphere, which diminishes, I suppose, even that 
light which actually reaches the planet. But unculti- 
vated ground, except on the mountains above the ordi- 
nary range of crops or pastures, scarcely exists in the belt 
of Equatorial continents ; the turf itself, like the herb- 
age or fruit shrubs in the fields, is artificial, consisting 
of plants developed through long ages into forms utterly 
unlike the native original by the skill and ingenuity of 
man. Even the great fruit trees have undergone ma- 
terial change, not only in the size, flavour, and appear- 
ance of the fruits themselves, which have been the 
immediate object of care, but, probably through some 
natural correlation between the different organs, in the 
form and colour of the foliage, the arrangement of the 
branches, and the growth of the trunk, all of which are 
much more regular, and, so to speak, more perfect, than 



A Coiuitry Drive. 239 

is the case either here or on Earth with those left to 
the control of Nature and locality, or the effects of the 
natural competition, which is in its way perhaps as keen 
among plants and animals as among men. Martialists 
have the same delight in bright colours as Orientals, 
with far greater taste in selection and combination ; and 
the favourite hues not only of their flowers, tame birds, 
fishes, and quadrupeds, but of plants in whose cultiva- 
tion utility has been the primary object, contrast signally, 
as I have said, with the dull tints of the undomesticated 
Jiora and fauna, of which comparatively scanty rem- 
nants were visible here and there in this rich country. 

Presently we came within sight of tlie river, over 
which was a single bridge, formed by what might be 
called a tube of metal built into strong walls on either 
bank. In fact, however, the sides were of open work, 
and only the roof and floor were solid. The river at 
this, its narrowest point, was perhaps a furlong in 
breadth, and it was not without instinctive uneasiness 
that I trusted to the security of a single piece of metal 
spanning, without even the strength afforded by the 
form of the arch, so great a space. 

The first object we were to visit lay at some distance 
down the stream. As we approached the point, we 
passed a place where the river widened considerably. 
The main channel in the centre was kept clear and deep 
to afford an uninterrupted course for navigation ; but on 
either side were rocks that broke the river into pools 
and shallows, such as here, no less than on Earth, form 
the favourite haunts or spawning places of the fish. In 
some of the lesser pools birds larger than the stork, 
bearing under the throat an expansible bag like that of 



240 Across the Zodiac. 

the pelican, were seeking for prey. They were watched 
and directed by a master on the shore, and carried to a 
square tank, fixed on a wheeled frame not unlike that 
of the ordinary carriage, which accompanied him, each 
fish they took. I observed that the latter were care- 
fully seized, with the least possible violence or injury, 
placed by a jerk head-downmost in the throat-bag, 
which, though when empty it was scarcely perceptible, 
would contain prey of very considerable size and weight, 
and as carefully disgorged into the tank. In one of the 
most extensive pools, too deep for these birds, a couple 
of men had spread a sort of net, not unlike those used 
on Earth, but formed of twisted metal threads with very 
narrow meshes, enclosing the whole pool, a space of 
perhaps some 400 square yards. In the centre of tliis 
an electric lamp w^as let dowm into the water, some 
feet below the surface. The fish crowded towards it, 
and a sudden shock of electricity transmitted througli 
the meshes of the net, as well as from the wires of the 
lamp circuit, stunned for a few minutes all life within 
the enclosure. The fish then floated on the surface, the 
net was drawn together, and they were collected and 
sorted ; some which, as I afterwards learned, were 
required for breeding, being carefully and separately 
preserved in a smaller tank, those fit for food cast into 
the larger one, tliose too small for the one purpose and 
not needed for the other being thrown back into the 
water. I noted, however, that many fish apparently 
valuable were among those thus rejected. I spoke to one 
of the fishermen, who, regarding me with great surprise 
and curiosity, at last answered briefly that a stringent 
law forbids the catching of spawning fish except for 



A Country Drive. 241 

breeding purposes. Those, therefore, for which the 
season was close-time were invariably spared. 

In sea-fishing a much larger net, sometimes enclosing 
more than 1 0.000 square yards, is employed. This fish- 
ing is conducted chiefly at night, the electric lamp being 
then much more effective in attracting the prey, and 
lowered only a few inches below the surface. Many 
large destructive creatures, unfit for food, generally of a 
nature intermediate between fish and reptiles, haunt the 
seas. It is held unwise to exterminate them, since they 
do their part in keeping down an immense variety of 
smaller creatures, noxious for one reason or another, and 
also in clearing the water from carrion and masses of 
seaweed which might otherwise taint the air of the sea- 
coasts, especially near the mouths of large tropical rivers. 
But these sea-monsters devour enormous quantities of 
fish, and the hunters appointed to ,deal with them are 
instructed to limit their numbers to the minimum re- 
quired. Their average increase is to be destroyed each 
year. If at any time it appear that, for whatever cause, 
the total number left alive is falling off, the chief of this 
service suspends it partially or wholly at his discretion. 

We now came to the entrance of a vast enclosure 
bordering on the river, the greatest fish-breeding esta- 
blishment on this continent, or indeed in this world. 
One of its managers courteously showed me over it. It 
is not necessary minutely to describe its arrangements, 
from the spawning ponds and the hatching tanks — the 
latter contained in a huge building, whose temperature 
is preserved with the utmost care at the rate found best 
suited to the ova — to the multitude of streams, ponds, 
and lakes in which the different kinds of fish are kept 

VOL. I. Q 



242 Acj'oss the Zodiac. 

during tlio several stages of their existence. The task 
of the breeders is much facihtated by the fact that the 
seas of Mars are not, like ours, salt ; and though sea and 
river fish are almost as distinct as on Earth, each kind 
having its own hahitat, whose conditions are carefully- 
reproduced in the breeding or feeding reservoirs, the same 
kind of water suits all alike. It is necessary, however, 
to keep the fishes of tropical seas and streams in water 
of a very different temperature from that suited to others 
brought from arctic or sub-arctic climates ; and this, like 
every other point affecting the natural peculiarities and 
habits of the fish, is attended to with minute and accurate 
care. The skill and science brought to bear on the task 
of breeding accomplish this and much more difficult 
operations with marvellous ease and certainty. 

On one of the buildings I observed one of the most 
remarkable, largest, and most complete timepieces I 
had yet seen ; and I had on this occasion an oppor- 
tunity of examining it closely. The dial was oblong, 
enclosed in a case of clear transparent crystal, somewhat 
resembling in form the open portion of a mercurial 
barometer. At the top were three circles of different 
colours, divided by twelve equidistant lines radiating 
from tlie centres and suljdivided again and again by the 
same number. Exactly at the uppermost point of each 
was a golden indicator. One of these circles marked the 
temperature, graduated from the lowest to the highest 
degree ever known in that latitude. Another indicated 
the direction of the wind, while the depth of colour in 
the circle itself, graduated in a manner carefully ex- 
plained to me, but my notes of which are lost, showed 
the exact force of the atmospheric current. The third 
served the purpose of a barometer. A coloured band 



A Coitntry Drive. 243 

immediately below indicated by the variations of tint 
the character of the coming weather. This band stretched 
right across the face ; below it were figures indicating 
the day of the year. The central portion of the face was 
occupied by a larger circle, half -green and half-black ; 
the former portion representing the colour of the day- 
light sky, the latter emblematic of night. On this circle 
the Sun and the planets were represented byfigures whose 
movement showed exactly the actual place of each in 
the celestial sphere. The two Moons were also figured, 
their phases and position at each moment being accu- 
rately presented to the eye. Around this circle was a 
narrow band divided into strips of different length of 
various colours, each representing one of the peculiar 
divisions of the Martial day; that point which came 
under the golden indicator showing the zyda and the 
exact moment of the zyda, while the movement of the 
inner circle fixed with equal accuracy the period of day 
or night. Below were other circles from which the 
observer could learn the amount of moisture in the 
atmosphere, the intensity of the sunlight, and the 
electric tension at the moment. Each of the six smaller 
circles registered on a moving ribbon the indications of 
every successive moment, these ribbons when unrolled 
forming a perfect record of temperature, atmospheric 
pressure, wind, and so forth, in the form of a curve — 
a register kept for more than 8000 jMartial years. 

Tour times during the revolution of the "reat circle 
each large clock emits for a couple of minutes a species 
of chime, the nature of wliich my ignorance of music 
renders me unable to describe : — viz., when the line divid- 
ing the green and black semicircles is horizontal at noon 
and midnight, and an hour before, at average sunrise 



244 Ac TOSS the Zodiac. 

and sunset, it becomes perpendicular. The individual 
character of the several chimes, tunes, or peals, what- 
ever they should be called, is so distinct that even I 
appreciated it. Further, as the first point of the coloured 
strip distinguishing each several zyda reaches the golden 
indicator, a single slightly prolonged sound — I fancy 
what is known on Earth as a single chord — is emitted. 
Of these again each is peculiar, so that no one with an 
ear for music can doubt what is the period of tlie day 
announced. The sound is never, even in the immediate 
vicinity of the clock, unpleasantly loud ; while it pene- 
trates to an amazing distance. It would be perfectly 
easy, if needful, to regulate all clocks by mechanical 
control through the electric network extended all over 
the face of the planet ; but the perfect accuracy of each 
individual timepiece renders any such check needless. 
In those latitudes where day and night during the 
greater part of the year are not even approximately 
equal, the black and green semicircles are so enlarged 
or diminished by mechanical means, that the hour of 
the day or night is represented as accurately as on the 
Equator itself. 

The examination of this establishment occupied us for 
two or three hours, and when we remounted our carriage 
it seemed to me only reasonable that Eveena should be 
weary both in mind and body. I proposed, therefore, to 
return at once, but against this she earnestly protested. 

" "Well," I said, " we will finish our excursion, then. 
Only remember that whenever you do feel tired you 
must tell me at once. I do not know what exertion you 
can bear, and of course it would be most inconsiderate 
to measure your endurance by my own." 

She promised, and we drove on for another hour in 



A Country Di'ive. 245 

the direction of a range of liills to the north-eastward. 
The lower and nearer portion of this range might be 
400 feet above the general level of the plain ; beyond, 
the highest peaks rose to perhaps 1500 feet, the average 
summit being about half that height. Where our road 
brought us to the foot of the first slope, large groves 
of the cahmjra, whose fruit contains a sort of floury 
pulp like roasted potato, were planted on ground be- 
longing to the State, and tenanted by young men be- 
longing to that minority which, as Esmo had told me 
not being fortunate enough to find private employment, 
is thus provided for. Encountering one of these, he 
pointed out to us the narrow road which, winding up 
the slope, afforded means of bringing down in waggons 
during the tw^o harvest seasons, each of which lasts for 
about fifty days, the fruit of these groves, which fur- 
nishes a principal article of food. The trees do not 
reach to a higher level than about 400 feet ; and above 
this we had to ascend on foot by a path winding through 
meadows, which I at first supposed to be natural. Eveena, 
however, quickly undeceived me, pointing out the pre- 
valence of certain plants peculiar to the cultivated 
pastures we had seen in the plain. These were so 
predominant as to leave no reasonable doubt that they 
had been originally sown by the hand of man, though 
the irregularity of their arrangement, and the encroach- 
ment of one species upon the ground of another, enabled 
my companion to prove to me with equal clearness that 
since its first planting the pasture had been entirely 
neglected. It was, she thought, worth planting once for 
all with the most nutritious herbage, but not worth the 
labour of subsequent close cultivation. Any lady belong- 
ing to a civilised people, and accustomed to a country 



246 Across the Zodiac, 

life, upon Earth might easily have perceived all that 
Eveeiia discovered; hut considering how seldom the 
latter had left her home, how few opportunities she had 
to see anything of practical agriculture, the quickness 
of her jDerception and the correctness of her inferences 
not a little surprised me. The path we pursued led 
directly to the ohject of our visit. The waters of the 
higher hills were collected in a vast tank excavated in 
an extensive plateau at the mid-level. At the summit 
of the first ascent we met and were escorted by one of 
the ofhcials entrusted with the charge of these works, 
which supply water of extraordinary purity to a popu- 
lation of perhaps a quarter of a million, inhabiting a 
district of some 10,000 square miles in extent. The 
tank was about sixty feet in depth, and perhaps a mile 
in length, with half that breadth. Its sides and bottom 
were lined with the usual concrete. Our guide informed 
me that in many cases tanks were covered with the 
crystal employed for doors and windows; but in the 
pure air of these hills such a precaution was thought 
unnecessary, as it would have been exceedingly costly. 
The water itself was of wonderful purity, so clear that 
the smallest object at the bottom was visible where the 
Sun, still high in the heavens, shone directly upon the 
surface. But tliis purity would by no means satisfy 
the standard of Martial sanitary science. In the first 
})lace, it is passed into a second division of the tank, 
where it is subjected to some violent electric action till 
every kind of organic germ it may contain is supposed 
to be completely destroyed. It is then passed through 
several covered channels and mechanically or chemically 
cleansed from every kind of inorganic impurity, and finally 
oxygenated or aerated with air which has undergone a 



A Coitntiy Drive. 247 

yet more elaborate purification. At every stage in this 
process, a pliial of water is taken out and examined in 
a dark chamber by means of a beam of light emanating 
from a powerful electric lamp and concentrated by a 
huge crystal lens. If this beam detect any perceptible 
dust or matter capable of scattering the light, the water 
is pronounced impure and passed through further pro- 
cesses. Only when the contents of the bottle remain 
absolutely dark, in the midst of an atmosphere whose 
floating dust renders the beam visible on either side, so 
that the phial, while perfectly transparent to the light, 
nevertheless interrupts the beam with a block of abso- 
lute darkness, is it considered fit for human consump- 
tion. It is then distributed through pipes of concrete, 
into which no air can possibly enter, to cisterns equally 
air-tight in every house. The water in these is periodi- 
cally examined by officers from the waterworks, who 
ascertain that it has contracted no impurity either in 
the course of its passage through hundreds of miles of 
piping or in the cisterns themselves. The Martialists 
consider that to this careful purification of their water 
they owe in great measure their exemption from the 
epidemic diseases which were formerly not infrequent. 
They maintain that all such diseases are caused by 
organic self-multiplying germs, and laugh to scorn the 
doctrine of spontaneous generation, either of disease, or 
of even such low organic life as can propagate it. I 
suggested that the atmosphere itself must, if their theory 
were true, convey the microscopic seeds of disease even 
more freely and universally than the water. 

" Doubtless," replied our guide, " it would scatter 
them more widely; but it does not enable them to 
penetrate and germinate in the body half so easily as 



248 Across ihe Zodiac. 

when conveyed by water. You must be aware that 
the lining of tlie upper air-passages arrests most of the 
impurities contained in tlie inhaled air before it comes 
into contact with the blood in the lungs themselves. 
Moreover, the extirpation of one disease after another, 
the careful isolation of all infectious cases, and the 
destruction of every article that could preserve or 
convey the poisonous germs, has in the course of ages 
enabled us utterly to destroy them." 

This did not seem to me consistent with the con- 
fession that disorders of one kind or another still not 
infrequently decimate their highly - bred domestic 
animals, however the human race itself may have been 
secured against contagion. I did not, however, feel 
competent to argue the question with one who had 
evidently studied physiology much more deeply than 
myself ; and had mastered the records of an experience 
infinitely longer, guided by knowledge far more accu- 
rate, than is possessed by the most accomplished of Ter- 
restrial pliysiologists. 

The examination of these works of course occupied 
us for a long time, and obliged us to traverse several 
miles of ground. More than once I had suggested to 
Eveena that we should leave our work unfinished, and 
on every opportunity had insisted that she should rest. 
I had been too keenly interested in the latter part of 
the explanation given me, to detect the fatigue she 
anxiously sought to conceal ; but when we left the 
works, I was more annoyed than surprised to find that 
the walk down-hill to our carriage was too much for 
her. The vexation I felt with myself gave, after the 
manner of men, some sharpness to the tone of my 
remonstrance with her. 



A Country Drive. 249 

" I bade you, ami you promised, to tell me as soon as 
you felt tired ; and you have let me almost tire you 
to death ! Your obedience, however strict in theory, 
reminds me in practice of that promised by women on 
Earth in their marriage-vow — and never paid or re- 
membered afterwards." 

She did not answer; and finding that her strength 
\vas utterly exhausted, I carried her down the remainder 
of the hill and placed her in the carriage. During our 
return neither of us spoke. Ascribing her silence to 
habit or fatigue, perhaps to displeasure, and busied in 
recalling what I had seen and heard, I did not care to 
'■ make conversation," as I certainly should have doue 
had I guessed what impression my taciturnity made on 
my companion's mind. I was heartily glad for her 
sake when we recjained the gate of her father's warden. 
Committing the carriage to the charge of an amba, I 
half led, half carried Eveeua along the avenue, overhung 
with the grand conical bells — gold, crimson, scarlet, 
green, white, or striped or variegated with some or all 
these colours — of the glorious leveloo, the Martial con- 
volvulus. Its light clinging stems and foliage hid the 
astyra's arched branches overhead, and formed a screen 
on either side. From its bells flew at our approach a 
whole flock of the tiny and beautiful caree, which take 
the chief part in rendering to the flora of Mars such 
services as the flowers of Earth receive from bees and 
butterflies. They feed on the nectar, farina, syrup, and 
other secretions, sweet or bitter, in which the artificial 
flowers of Mars are peculiarly abundant, and make 
their nests in the calyx or among the petals. These 
lovely little birds — about the size of a hornet, but perfect 
birds in miniature, with wings as large as those of the 



250 Across the Zodiac. 

largest Levantine papilio, and feathery down equally 
fine and soft — are perhaps the most shy and timid of 
all creatures familiar with the presence of Martial 
humanity. The varied colours of their plumage, com- 
bined and intermingled in marvellously minute patterns, 
are all of those subdued or dead tints agreeable to the 
taste of Japanese artists, and perhaps to no other. 
They signally contrast the vivid and splendid colouring 
of objects created or developed by human genius and 
patience, from the exquisite decorations and jewel-like 
masses of domestic and public architecture to the 
magnificent flowers and fruit produced, by the labour 
of countless generations, from originals so dissimilar 
that only the records of past ages can trace or the 
searching comparisons of science recognise them. I 
am told that the present race of flow^er-birds themselves 
are a sort of indirect creation of art. They certainly 
vary in size, shape, and colour according to the flower 
each exclusively frequents ; and those which haunt the 
cultivated bells of the levcloo present an amazing con- 
trast to the far tinier and far less beautiful caree which 
have not yet abandoned the wildflowers for those of the 
garden. Above two hundred varieties distinguished by 
ornithologists frequent only the domesticated flowers. 

The flight of this swarm of various beauty recalled 
the conversation of last night ; and breaking off unob- 
served a long fine tendril of the leveloo, I said lightly — 

" Flower-birds are not so well-trained as csvce, bam- 
bina." 

IsTever forgetting a word of mine, and never failing 
to catch with quick intelligence the sense of the most 
epigrammatic or delicate metaphor, Eveena started and 
looked up, as if stung by a serious reproach. Fancying 



A Country Drive. 251 

that overpowering fatigue had so shaken her nerves, I 
would not allow her to speak. But I did not under- 
stand liow much she had been distressed, till in her own 
chamber, cloak and veil thrown aside, she stood beside 
my seat, her sleeveless arms folded behind her, droop- 
ing like a lily beaten down by a thunderstorm. Then 
she murmured sadly — 

" I did not think of offending. But you are quite 
right ; disobedience should never pass." 

" Certainly not," I replied, with a smile she did not 
see. Taking both the little hands in my left, I laid the 
tendril on her soft white shoulders, but so gently that 
in her real distress she did not feel the touch. " You 
see I can keep my word ; but never let me tire you 
again. My flower-bird cannot take wing if she anger 
me in earnest." 

" Are you not angered now ? " she asked, glancing up 
in utter surprise. 

]\Iy eyes, or the sight of the leveloo, answered her ; 
and a sweet bright smile broke through her look of 
frightened, penitent submission, as she snatched the 
tendril and snapped it in my hand. 

" Cruel ! " she said, with a pretty assumption of ill- 
usage, " to visit a first fault with the whip." 

" You are hard to please, bambina ! I knew no 
better. Seriously, until I can measure your strength 
more truly, never again let me feel that in inviting your 
company I have turned my pleasure into your pain." 

" No, indeed," she urged, once more in earnest. " Girls 
so seldom pass the gate, and men never walk where a 
carriage will go, or I should not have been so stupid. 
But if I had blistered my feet, and the leveloo had been 
a nut- vine, the fruit was worth the scratches." 



-D- 



A cross the Zodiac. 



" Wliat do you know, my cliilJ, citlier of blisters or 
stripes ? " 

" You will teach me No, you know I don't mean 

tliat ! But you will take me with you sometimes till I 
learn better ! If you are going to leave me at home in 
future " 

" My child, can you not trust me to take you for my 
own pleasure ? " 

The silvery tone of her low sweet laugh was truly 
perfectly musical. 

" Forgive me," she said, nestling in the cushions at 
my knee, and seeking with upturned eyes, like a child 
better assured of pardon than of full reconciliation, to 
read my face, " it is very naughty to laugh, and very un- 
grateful, when you speak to please me ; but is it real 
kindness to say what I should be very silly to believe ? " 

" You will believe wdiatever I tell you, child. If you 
wish to anger a man, even with you, tell him that he is 
lying." 

" I do nothing but misbehave," she said, in earnest 
despondency. " I " But I sealed her lips effec- 
tually for the moment. 

" Why did you not speak as we came home ? " 

" You were tired, and I was thinkinsj over all I had 
seen. Besides, who talks air ? " [makes conversation]. 

" You always talk when you are pleased. The lip- 
sting (scolding) and silence frightened me so, you nearly 
heard me crying." 

" Crying for fear ? You did well to break the leveloo ! 
. . . And so you think I must be tired of my bride, 
before the colours have gone round on the dial ? " 

" Not tired of her. You will like a little longer to 
find her in the cushions when you are vexed or idle ; 



A Country Drive. 



-oj 



but you don't want her where her ignorance wearies 
and her weakness hampers you." 

" Are you an esve, to be caged at home, and pLayed 
with for lack of better employment ? We shall never 
understand each other, child." 

" What more can I be ? But don't say we shall 
never understand each other," she pleaded earnestly. 
" It took time and trouble to make my pet understand 
and obey each word and sign. Zevle gave hers more 
slaps and fewer sweets, and it learned sooner. But, 
like me, you want your esve to be happy, not only to 
fly straight and play prettily. She will try hard to 
learn if you will teach her, and not be so afraid of 
hurting her, as if she expected sweets from both hands. 
It is easy for you to see through her empty head : do 
not give her up till she has had time to look a little 
way into your eyes." 

" Eveena," I answered, almost as much pained as 
touched by the unaffected humility which had so ac- 
cepted and carried out my ironical comparison, " one 
simple magnet-key would unlock the breast whose 
secrets seem so puzzling ; but it has hardly a name in 
your tongue, and cannot yet be in your hands." 

" Ah, yes ! " she said softly, " you gave it me ; do you 
think I have lost it in two nights ? But the esve can- 
not be loved as she loves her master. I could half 
understand the prodigal heart that would buy a girl's 
life with yours, and all that is bound up in yours. Xo 
other vian would have done it — in our world," she 
added, answering my gesture of dissent ; " but they say 
that the terrible hargynda will stand by his dying mate 
till he is shot down. You bought my heart, my love, 
all I am, when you bought my life, and never asked 



2 54 Across the Zodiac. 

the cost." She continued almost in a whisper, her rose- 
suffused cheeks and moist eyes hidden from my sight 
as the lips murmured their loving words into my ear, — 
"Though the nestling never looked from under the 
wing, do you think she knows not what to expect when 
she is bought from the nest ? She dares not struggle in 
the hand that snatches her ; much more did she deserve 
to be rated and rapped for fluttering in that which saved 
her life. Bought twice over, caged by right as by might 
— was her thought midnight to your eyes, when she won- 
dered at the look that watched her so quietly, the hand 
that would not try to touch lest it should scare her, the 
patience that soothed and coaxed her to perch on the 
outstretched finger, like a flower-bird tamed at last ? 
Do you think that name, given her by lips which soft- 
ened even their words of fondness for her ear, did not 
go to her heart straight as the esve flies home, or that it 
could ever be forgotten ? There is a chant young girls 
are fond of, which tells more than I can say." 

Her tones fell so low that I should have lost them, 
had her lips not actually touched my ear while she 
chanted the strange words in the sweetest notes of 
her sweet voice : — 

' ' Never yet hath single sun 
Seen a floAver-bhtl tamed and won ; 
Sun and stars shall quit the sky 
Ere a bird so tamed shall flj''. 

" Never human lips have kissed 
Flower-biid tamed 'twixt mist and mist ; 
Bird so tamed from tamer's heart 
Night of death shall hanlly part." 



( 255 ) 



CHAPTEE XIL 

ON THE RIVER. 

The next morning saw our journey commenced. Eveena's 
wardrobe, with my own and my books, portfolios, models, 
and specimens of Terrestrial art and mechanism, were 
packed in light metallic cases adapted to the larger form 
of carriage whereof I have made mention. I was for- 
tunate in escaping the actual parting scene between 
Eveena and her family, and my own leave-taking was 
hurried. Esmo and his son accompanied us, leading 
the way in one carriage, wliile Eveena and myself 
occupied that which we had used on our memorable 
trip to the Astronaut. Half an hour brought us to the 
road beside the river, and a few minutes more to the 
point at which a boat awaited us. The road being some 
eight or ten feet above the level of the water, a light 
ladder not three feet long was ready to assist our 
descent to the deck. The difference of size between 
the Martial race and my own was forcibly impressed 
upon me, in seeing that Esmo and his son found this 
assistance needful, or at least convenient, while I 
simply stepped rather than jumped to the deck, and 
lifted Eveena straight from her carriage to her seat 
under the canopy that covered the stern of the vessel. 
Intended only for river navigation, propelled by a 



256 Across the Zodiac. 

small screw like two fishtails set at riglit angles, work- 
ing horizontally ; the vessel had but two cabins, one 
on either side of the central part occupied by the 
machinery. The stern apartment was appropriated to 
myself and my bride, the forecastle, if I may so call it, 
to our companions, the boatmen having berths in the 
corners of the machine-room. The vessel was flat- 
bottomed, drawing about eighteen inches of water and 
rising about five feet from the surface, leaving an 
interior height which obliged me to be cautious in 
order not to strike my head against every projection or 
support of the cabin roof. AVe spent the whole of the 
day, however, on deck, and purposely slackened the 
speed of the boat, which usually travels some thirty 
miles an hour, in order to enjoy the effect and observe 
the details of the landscape. For the first few miles 
our voyage lay through the open plain. Then we 
passed, on the left as we ascended the stream, the 
mountain on whose summit I tried with my bino- 
cular to discern the Astronaut, but unsuccessfully, 
the trees on the lower slopes intercepting the view. 
Eveena, seeing my eyes fixed on that point, extended 
her hand and gently drew the glass out of mine. 

" Not yet," she said ; which elicited from me the 
excuse — 

"That mountain has for me remembrances more in- 
teresting than those of my voyage, or even than the 
hopes of return." 

Presently, as we followed the course of the stream, 
we lost sight altogether of the rapidly dwindling 
patches of colour representing the enclosures of Ecasfe. 
On our left, at a distance varying from three to five 



On the Rive7'. 257 

miles, but constantly increasing as the stream bent to 
the northward, was the mountain range I had scanned 
in my descent. On our right tlie plain dipped below 
the horizon while still but a few feet above the level of 
the river ; but in the distant sky we discerned some 
objects like white clouds, which from their immobility 
and fixedness of outline I soon discovered to be snow- 
crowned hills, lower, however, than those to the north- 
ward, and perhaps some forty miles distant. The valley 
is one of the richest and most fertile portions of this 
continent, and was consequently thoroughly cultivated 
and more densely peopled than most parts even of the 
Equatorial zone. An immediate river frontage being as 
convenient as agreeable, the enclosures on either bank 
were continuous, and narrow in proportion to their 
depth ; the largest occupying no more than from one 
hundred and fifty to two hundred yards of the bank, 
the smaller from half to one cpiarter of that length. 
Most had a tunnel pierced under the road bordering 
the river, through which the water was admitted to 
their grounds and carried in a minute stream around 
and even through the house ; for ornament rather than 
for use, since every house in a district so populous has 
a regular artificial water supply, and irrigation, as I 
have explained, is not required. The river itself was 
embellished with masses of water-flowers ; and water- 
birds, the smallest scarcely larger than a wagtail, the 
largest somewhat exceeding the size of a swan, of a 
different form and dark grey plumage, but hardly less 
graceful, seemed to be aware of the stringent protection 
they enjoyed from the law. They came up to our boat 

VOL. I. K 



258 Across the Zodiac. 

aud fed out out of Eveena's hand with perfect fearless- 
ness. I could not induce any of them to be equally- 
familiar with myself, my size probably surprising them 
as much as their masters, and leading them to the same 
doubt whether I were really and wholly human. The 
lower slopes of the hills were covered with orchards of 
every kind, each species occupying the level best suited 
to it, from the reed-supported orange-like alva of the 
lowlands to the tall astyra, above which stretched the 
timber forests extending as high as trees could grow, 
while between these and the permanent snow-line lay 
the yellowish herbage of extensive pastures. A similar 
mountain range on earth would have presented a greater 
variety of colouring and scenery, the total absence of 
glaciers, even in the highest valleys, creating a notable 
difference. The truth is that the snows of Mars are 
nowhere deep, and melt in the summer to such an 
extent that that constant increase whose downward 
tendency feeds Terrestrial glaciers cannot take place. 
Probably the thin atmosphere above the snow-line can 
hold but little watery vapour. Esmo was of opinion 
that the snow on the highest steeps, even on a level 
plateau, was never more than two feet in depth ; and in 
more than one case a wind-swept peak or pinnacle was 
kept almost clear, and presented in its grey, green, or 
vermilion rocks a striking contrast to the masses of 
creamy white around it. This may explain the very 
rapid diminution of the polar ice-caps in the summer of 
either, but especially of the Southern hemisphere ; and 
also the occasional appearance of large dark spots in 
their midst, where the shallow snow has probably been 
swept away by the rare storms of this planet from an 



On the River. 259 

extensive land surface. It is supposed that no incon- 
siderable part of the ice and snow immediately sur- 
rounding the poles covers land ; Lut, though balloon 
parties have of late occasionally reached the poles, they 
have never ventured to remain there long enouirh to 
disembark and ascertain the fact. 

Towards evening the stream turned more decidedly 
to the north, and at this point Esmo brought out an 
instrument constructed somewhat on the principle of 
a sextant or quadrant, but without the mirror, by 
which we were enabled to take reliable measures of 
the angles. By a process which at that time I did not 
accurately follow, and which I had not subsequently 
the means of verifying, the distance as well as the angle 
subtended by the height was obtained Kevim^, after 
working out his father's figures, informed me that the 
highest peak in view — the highest in Mars — was not 
less than 44,000 feet. Xo Martial balloonist, much 
less any Martial mountain-climber, has ever, save once, 
reached a greater height than 16,000 feet — the air 
at the sea-level being scarcely more dense than ours at 
10,000 feet. Kevima indicated one spot in the southern 
range of remarkable interest, associated with an 
incident which forms an epoch in the records of 
Martial geography. A sloping plateau, some 19,000 
feet above the sea-level, is defined with remarkable 
clearness in the direction from which we viewed it. 
The forests appeared to hide, though they do not 
of course actually approach, its lower edge. On one 
side and to the rear it is shut in by precipices so 
abrupt that the snow fails to cling to them, whde on 
the remaining side it is separated by a deep, wide 



26o Across the Zodiac. 

cleft from the western portion of the range. Here 
for centuries were visible the relics of an exploring 
party, which reached this plateau and never returned. 
Attempts have, since the steering of balloons has 
tecome an accomplished fact, been made to reach the 
point, but without success, and those who have 
approached nearest have failed to find any of the 
long-visible remains of an expedition which perished 
four or five thousand years ago. Kevima, thought it 
probable that the metallic poles even then employed for 
tents and for climbing purposes might still be intact ; but 
if so, they were certainly buried in the snow, and Esmo 
believed it more likely that even these had perished. 

As the mists of evening fell we retreated to our 
cabin, which was warmed by a current of heated air 
from the electric machinery. Here our evening meal 
was served, at which Esmo and his son joined us, 
Eveena resuming, even in their presence, the veil she 
had worn on deck but had laid aside the moment we 
were alone. An hour or two after sunset, the night 
(an unusual occurrence in Mars) was clear and fine, 
and I took this opportunity of observing from a new 
standpoint the familiar constellations. The scintil- 
lation so characteristic of the fixed stars, especially 
in the temperate climates of the Earth, was scarcely 
perceptible. Scattered once more over the surface 
of a defined sky, it was much easier than in space to 
recognise the several constellations ; but their new 
and strange situations were not a little surprising at 
first sight, some of those which, as seen on Earth 
revolved slowly in the neighbourhood of the poles, 
being now not far from the tropics, and some, which 



On, the River. 261 

had their place within the tropics, now lying far to 
north or south. Around the northern pole the Swan 
swings by its tail, as in our skies the Lesser Bear ; 
Arided being a Pole- Star which needs no Pointers to 
indicate its position. Vega is the only other brilliant 
star in the immediate neighbourhood; and, save for 
the presence of the Milky Way directly crossing it, 
the arctic circle is distinctly less bright than our own. 
The south pole lies in one of the dullest regions of 
the heavens, near the chief star of the Peacock. Arc- 
turus, the Great Bear, the Twins, the Lion, the 
Scorpion, and Fomalhaut are among the ornaments 
of the Equatorial zone : the Cross, the Centaur, and 
the Ship of our antarctic constellations, are visible 
far into the northern hemisphere. On the present 
occasion the two Moons were both visible in the west, 
the horns of both crescents pointing in the same 
direction, iliough the one was in her last, the other in 
her first phase. 

As we were watching them, Eveena, wrapped in a 
cloak of fur not a little resembling that of the 
silver fox, but far softer, stole her hand into mine 
and whispered a request that I would lend her the 
instrument I was using. With some instruction and 
help she contrived to adjust it, her sight requiring a 
decided alteration of the focus and an approach of 
the two eye-pieces ; the eyes of her race being set 
somewhat nearer than in an average Aryan counten- 
ance. She expressed no little surprise at the clear- 
ness of definition, and the marked enlargement of the 
discs of the two satellites, and would have used the 
instrument to scan the stars and visible planets had I 



262 Aci'oss the Zodiac. 

not insisted on her retirement; tlie light atmosphere, 
as is always the case on clear nights, when no cloud- 
veil prevents rapid radiation from the surface, being 
bitterly cold, and her life not having accustomed her 
to the night air even in the most genial season. 

As we could, of course, see nothing of the country 
through which we passed during the night, and as Esmo 
informed me that little or nothing of special interest 
would occur during this part of our voyage, our vessel 
went at full speed, her pilot being thoroughly acquainted 
with the river, and an electric lioht in the bow enabling^ 
him to steer with perfect confidence and safety. When, 
therefore, we came on deck after the dissipation of the 
morning mist, we found ourselves in a scene very differ- 
ent from that which we had left. Our course was north 
by west. ' On either bank lay a country cultivated 
indeed, but chiefly pastoral, producing a rich herbage, 
grazed by innumerable herds, among which I observed 
with interest several flocks of large birds, kept, as Esmo 
informed me, partly for their plumage. This presented 
remarkable combinations of colour, far surpassing in 
brilliancy and in variety of pattern the tail of the pea- 
cock, and often rivalling in length and delicacy, while 
exceeding in beauty of colouring, the splendid feathers 
which must have embarrassed the Bird of Paradise, even 
before they rendered him an object of pursuit by those 
who have learnt the vices and are eager to purchase the 
wares of civilised man. Immediately across our course, 
at a distance of some thirty miles, stretched a range of 
mountains. I inquired of Esmo how the river turned 
in order to avoid them, since no opening was visible 
even through my glass. 



On the River. 263 

" The proper course of the river," he said, " lies at the 
foot of those hills. But this would take us out of our 
road, and, moreover, the stream is not navigable for 
many stoloi above the turning-point. We shall hold 
on nearly in the same direction as the present till we 
land at their foot." 

" And how," I said, " are we to cross them ? " 

"At your choice, either by carriage or by balloon," 
he said. "There is at our landing-place a town in 
which we shall easily procure either." 

" But," said I, " though our luggage is far less heavy 
than would be that of a bride on Earth, and Eveena's 
forms the smallest portion of it, I should fancy that it 
must be inconveniently heavy for a balloon." 

" Certainly," he replied ; " but we could send it by 
carriage even over the mountain roads. The boat, how- 
ever, will go on, and will meet us some thirty miles 
beyond the point where we leave it." 

" And how is the boat to pass over the hills ? " 

" Not over, but under," he said, smiling. " There is 
no natural passage entirely through the range, but there 
is within it a valley the bottom of which is not much 
higher than this plain. Of the thirty miles to be tra- 
versed, about one-half lies in the course of this valley, 
along which an artificial canal has been made. Through 
the hills at either end a tunnel has been cut, the one of 
six, the other of about nine miles in length, affording a 
perfectly safe and easy course for the boat ; and it is 
through these that nearly all the heavy traffic passing 
in this direction is conveyed." 

" I should like," I said, " if it be possible, to pass 
through one at least of these tunnels, unless there be 



264 Across the Zodiac. 

on the mountains themselves something especially worth 
seeing." 

" Nothing," he replied. " They are low, none much 
exceeding the height of that from which you descended." 

Eveena now joined us on deck, and we amused our- 
selves for the next two hours in observing the different 
animals, of which such numbers were to be seen at 
every turn, domesticated and trained for one or other 
of the many methods in which the brutes can serve the 
convenience, the sustenance, or the luxury of man. 
Animal food is eaten on ]\lars ; but the flesh of birds 
and fish is much more largely employed than that of 
quadrupeds, and eggs and milk enter into the cuisine 
far more extensively than either. In fact, flesh and fish 
are used much as they seem to have been in the earlier 
period of Greek civilisation, as relish and supplement to 
fruits, vegetables, and farinaceous dishes, rather than as 
the principal element of food. As their training and 
their extreme tameness indicate, domestic creatures, 
even those destined only to serve as food or to furnish 
clothing, are treated not indeed with tenderness, but 
with gentleness, and without either the neglect or the 
cruelty which so revolt humane men in witnessing the 
treatment of Terrestrial animals by those who have 
personal charge of them. To describe any considerable 
number of the hundred forms I saw during this short 
period would be impossible. I have drawings, or rather 
pictures, of most, taken by the light-painting process, 
which I hope herewith to remit to Earth, and which at 
least serve to give a general idea of the points in which 
the Martial chiefly differs from the Terrestrial fauna. 
Those animals whose coats furnish a textile fibre more 



On the River. 265 

resemble reindeer and goats than sheep ; their wool is 
softer, longer, and less curly, free also from the greasi- 
ness of the sheep. 

It seemed to me that an extreme quaintness char- 
acterised the domestic creatures kept for special pur- 
poses. This was not the effect of mere novelty, for 
animals like the aniba and birds like the csve, trained 
to the performance of services congenial to their natural 
habits, however dissimilar to Terrestrial species, had 
not the same air of singularity, or rather of monstrosity. 
But in the creatures bred to furnish wool, feathers, 
or the Hke, some single feature was always exaggerated 
into disproportionate dimensions. Thus the clncrve is 
loaded with long plumes, sometimes twice the length 
of the body, and curled upward at the extremity, so 
that it can neither fly nor run ; and though its plumage 
is exquisitely beautiful, the creature itself is simply 
ludicrous. It bears the same popular repute for sagacity 
as the goose of European farmyards. The angasto has 
hair or wool so long that its limbs are almost hidden, 
just before shearing- time, in the tresses that hang from 
the body half way to the ground. The calpcrze, a bird 
no larger than a Norfolk turkey, has the hinder part 
developed to an enormous size, so that the graceful 
peacock-like neck and shoulders appear as if lost in 
the huge proportions of the body, and the little wings 
are totally unfit to raise it in the air ; while it lays 
almost daily eggs as large as those of the ostrich 
and of peculiar richness and flavour. Nearly all the 
domestic birds kept for the sake of eggs or feathers 
have wings that look as if they had been clipped, and 
are incapable of flight. Creatures valued for their 



264 Across the Zodiac. 

on the mountains tliemselves something especially worth 
seeing." 

" Xothing," he replied. " They are low, none much 
exceeding the height of that from which you descended." 

Eveena now joined us on deck, and we amused our- 
selves for the next two hours in observing the different 
animals, of which such numbers were to be seen at 
every turn, domesticated and trained for one or other 
of the many methods in which the brutes can serve the 
convenience, the sustenance, or the luxury of man. 
Animal food is eaten on ]\Iars ; but the flesh of birds 
and fish is much more largely employed than that of 
quadrupeds, and eggs and milk enter into the cuisine 
far more extensively than either. In fact, flesh and fish 
are used much as they seem to have been in the earlier 
period of Greek civilisation, as relish and supplement to 
fruits, vegetables, and farinaceous dishes, rather than as 
the principal element of food. As their training and 
their extreme tameness indicate, domestic creatures, 
even those destined only to serve as food or to furnish 
clothing, are treated not indeed with tenderness, but 
with gentleness, and without either the neglect or the 
cruelty which so revolt humane men in witnessing the 
treatment of Terrestrial animals by those who have 
personal charge of them. To describe any considerable 
number of the hundred forms I saw during this short 
period would be impossible. I have drawings, or ratlier 
pictures, of most, taken by the light-painting process, 
which I hope herewith to remit to Earth, and which at 
least serve to give a general idea of the points in which 
the Martial chiefly differs from the Terrestrial fauna. 
Those animals whose coats furnish a textile fibre more 



On the River. 265 

resemble reindeer and goats than sheep; their wool is 
softer, longer, and less curly, free also from the greasi- 
ness of the sheep. 

It seemed to me that an extreme qiiaintness char- 
acterised the domestic creatures kept for special pur- 
poses. This was not the effect of mere novelty, for 
animals like the aniba and birds like the esve, trained 
to the performance of services congenial to their natural 
habits, however dissimilar to Terrestrial species, had 
not the same air of singularity, or rather of monstrosity. 
But in the creatures bred to furnish wool, feathers, 
or the like, some single feature was always exaggerated 
into disproportionate dimensions. Thus the ehicrve is 
loaded with long plumes, sometimes twice the length 
of the body, and curled upward at the extremity, so 
that it can neither fly nor run ; and though its plumage 
is exquisitely beautiful, the creature itself is simply 
ludicrous. It bears the same popular repute for sagacity 
as the goose of European farmyards. The angasto has 
hair or wool so long that its limbs are almost hidden, 
just before shearing- time, in the tresses that hang from 
the body half way to the ground. The calpcrzc, a bird 
no larger than a Norfolk turkey, has the hinder part 
developed to an enormous size, so that the graceful 
peacock-like neck and shoulders appear as if lost in 
the huge proportions of the body, and the little wings 
are totally unfit to raise it in the air ; while it lays 
almost daily eggs as large as those of the ostrich 
and of peculiar richness and flavour. Nearly all the 
domestic birds kept for the sake of eggs or feathers 
have wings that look as if they had been clipped, and 
are incapable of flight. Creatures valued for their 



2 66 Across tJic Zodiac. 

flesh, such as the quorno (somewhat like the eland, hut 
with the single horn so common among its congeners 
in Mars, and with a soft white hide), and the viste, a 
bird about the size of the peacock, with the form of 
the partridge and the flavour of grouse or black game, 
preserve more natural proportions. The wing-quills 
of the latter, however, having been systematically 
plucked for hundreds of generations, are now dwarfed 
and useless. These animals are not encourasied to 
make fat on the one hand, or to develop powerful 
muscles and sinews on the other. They are fed for 
part of the year on the higher and thinner pastures of 
the mountains. When brought down to the m.eadows 
of the plain, they are allowed to graze only for a few 
hours before sunset and after sunrise. They thus pre- 
serve much of the flavour of game or mountain sheep 
and cattle, which the oxen and poultry of Europe have 
lost ; flavour, not quantity, being the chief object of care 
with Martial graziers. Sometimes, however, some pecu- 
liarity perfectly useless, or even inconvenient, appears 
to be naturally associated with that which is artificially 
developed. Thus the beak of the clnerve is weak and 
often splits, so as to render its rearing troublesome and 
entail considerable losses ; while the horns of the 
wool-bearing animals are long and strong enough to be 
formidable, but so rough and coarsely grained that they 
are turned to no account for use or ornament. 

"We were rapidly approaching the foot of the hills, 
where the river made another and abrupt turn. At 
this point the produce of the whole upper valley is 
generally embarked, and supplies from all other 
quarters are here received and distributed. In con- 



Oil the River. 267 

sequence, a to^vn large and important for tliis planet, 
where no one who can help it prefers the crowded 
street to the freedom and expanse of the country, had 
grown up, with about a hundred and fifty houses, 
and perhaps a thousand inhabitants. It was so much 
matter of course that voyagers should disembark to cross 
the hills or to pursue their journey along the upper 
part of the river by road, that half-a-dozen different 
partnerships made it their business to assist in the 
transfer of passengers and light wares. Ahead of us 
was a somewhat steep hill-slope, in the lower part of 
which a wall absolutely perpendicular had been cut 
by those who pierced the tunnel, the mouth of which 
was now clearly visible immediately before us. It 
was about twelve feet in height, and perhaps twenty 
feet in width. The stream, which, like nearly all 
Martial rivers, is wide and shallow, had during the 
last fifty miles of our course grown narrower, with a 
depth at the same time constantly lessening, so that 
some care was required on the part of the pilot to avoid 
running aground. A stream of twenty inches in depth, 
affording room for two boats to pass abreast, is con- 
sidered navigable for vessels only carrying passengers ; 
thirty inches are required to afford a course which for 
heavy freight is preferable to the road. Eveena had 
taken it for granted that we should disembark here, 
and it was not till we had come within a hundred yards 
of the landing-place — where the bank was perpen- 
dicular and levelled to a height above the water, 
which enabled passengers to step directly from the 
deck of the boat — without slackening our speed, that 
the possibility of our intending to accompany the boat 



268 Across the Zodiac. 

on its subterrene course occurred to her. As she did 
not speak, but merely drew ch)ser to me, and held fast 
my hand, I had no idea of her real distress till we 
were actually at the mouth of the black and very 
frightful-looking passage, and the pilot had lighted the 
electric lamp. As the boat shot under the arch she 
could not repress a cry of terror. Naturally putting 
my arm round her at this sign of alarm, I felt that she 
was trembling violently, and a single look, despite her 
veil, convinced me that she was crying, though in 
silence and doing her utmost to conceal her tears. 

" Are you so frightened, child ? " I asked. " I have 
been through many subterranean passages, though none 
so long and dark as this. But you see our lamp lights 
up not only the boat but the whole vault around and 
before us, and there can be no danger whatever." 

" I am frightened, though," she said, " I cannot help 
it. I never saw anything of the kind before ; and the 
darkness behind and before us, and the black water 
on either side, do make me shiver." 

" Stop ! " I called to the boatman. 

" jSTow, Eveena," I said, " I do not care to persist in 
this journey if it really distresses you. I wished to 
see so wonderful a work of engineering ; but, after all, 
I have been in a much uglier and more wonderful 
place, and I can see nothing here stranger than when 
I was rowed for three-quarters of a mile on the river 
in the Mammoth Cave. In any case I shall see little 
but a continuation of what I see already ; so if you can- 
not bear it, we will go back." 

By this time Esmo, who had been in the bows, had 
joined us, wishing to know why I had stopped the boat. 



0)1 the River. 269 

'' This cliild," I said, " is not used to travelling, and 
the tunnel frightens her ; so that I think, after all, we 
had better take the usual course across the mountains." 

" Nonsense ! " he answered. " There is no danger 
here ; less probably than in an ordinary drive, certainly 
less than in a balloon. Don't spoil her, my friend. If 
you begin by yielding to so silly a caprice as this, you 
will end by breaking her heart before the two years 
are out." 

" Do go on," whispered Eveena. " I was very silly ; 
I am not so frightened now, and if you will hold me 
fast, I will not misbehave again." 

Esmo had taken the matter out of my hands, desiring 
the boatman to proceed; and though I sjonpathised 
with my bride's feminine terror much more than her 
father appeared to do, I was selfishly anxious, in spite 
of my declaration that there could be no novelty in 
this tunnel, to see one thing certainly original — the 
means by which so narrow and so long a passage 
could be efficiently ventilated. The least I could do, 
however, was to appease Eveena's fear before turn- 
ing my attention to the objects of my own curiosity. 
The presence of physical strength, which seemed to 
her superhuman, produced upon her nerves the quieting 
effect which, however irrationally, great bodily force 
always exercises over women; partly, perhaps, from 
the awe it seems to inspire, partly from a yet more 
unreasonable but instinctive reliance on its protection 
even in dangers against which it is obviously un- 
availing. 

Presently a current of air, distinctly warmer than 
that of the tunnel, which had been gradually increas- 



2/0 Across the Zodiac. 

ing in force for some minutes, became so powerful 
that I could no longer suppose it accidental. Kevima 
being near us, I asked him what it meant. 

" Ventilation," he answered. " The air in these 
tunnels would be foul and stagnant, perliaps un- 
breathable, if we did not drive a constant current of 
air through them. You did not notice, a few yards 
from the entrance, a wheel which drives a large fan. 
One of these is placed at every half mile, and drives 
on the air from one end of the tunnel to the other. 
They are reversed twice in a zyda, so that they may 
ereate no constant counter-current outside." 

" But is not the power exerted to drive so great a 
body of air exceedingly costly ? " 

" No," he answered. " As you are aware, electricity 
is almost our only motive power, and we calculate 
that the labour of two men, even without the help 
of machines, could in their working zydau [eight hours] 
collect and reduce a sufficient amount of the elements 
by which the current is created to do the work of four 
hundred men during a whole day and night." 

" And how long," I inquired, " has electricity had so 
complete a monopoly of mechanical work ? " 

" It was first brought into general use," he replied, 
" about eight thousand years ago. Before that, heated 
air supplied our principal locomotive force, as well as 
the power of stationary machines wherever no water- 
fall of sufficient energy was at hand. For several cen- 
turies the old powers were still employed under con- 
ditions favourable to their use. But we have found 
electricity so much cheaper than the cheapest of other 
artificial forces, so much more powerful than any sup- 



On the River. 271 

plied by Nature, that we have long discontinued the 
employment of any other. Even when we obtain elec- 
tricity by means of heat, we find that the gain in appli- 
cation more than compensates the loss in the transmuta- 
tion of one force into another." 

In the course of little more than half an hour we 
emerged from the tunnel, whose gloom, when once the 
attraction of novelty was gone, was certainly unpleasant 
to myself, if not by any means so frightful as Eveena 
still found it. There was nothing specially attractive 
or noticeable in the valley through which our course 
now ran, except the extreme height of its mountain 
walls, which, though not by any means perpendicular, 
rose to a height of some 3000 feet so suddenly that 
to climb their sides would have been absolutely im- 
possible. Only during about two hours in the middle 
of the day is the sun seen from the level of the stream ; 
and it is dark in the bottom of this valley long before 
the mist has fallen on the plain outside. We had 
presently, however, to ascend a slope of some twenty- 
five feet in the mile, and I was much interested in the 
peculiar method by which the ascent was made. A 
mere ascent, not greater than that of some rapids up 
which American boatmen have managed to carry their 
barques by manual force, presented no great difficulty ; 
but some skill is required at particular points to avoid 
being overturned by the rush of the water, and our 
vessel so careened as to afford much more excuse for 
Eveena's outbreak of terror than the tunnel had done. 
Had I not held her fast she must certainly have been 
thrown overboard, the pilot, used to the danger, having 
forgotten to warn us. For the rest, in the absence of 



272 Across the Zodiac. 

rocks, tlie vessel ascended more easily tlian a powerful 
steamer, if she could find sufficient depth, could make 
her way np the rapids of the St. Lawrence or similar 
streams. We entered the second tunnel without any 
sign of alarm from Eveena perceptible to others ; only 
her clinging to my hand expressed the fear of which 
she was ashamed but could not rid herself. Emerging 
from its mouth, we found ourselves within sight of the 
sea and of the town and harbour of Serocasfe, where 
we were next day to embark. Landing from the boat, 
we were met by the friend whose hospitality Esmo had 
requested. At his house, half a mile outside the town, 
for the first time since our marriage I had to part for a 
short period with Eveena, who was led away by tlie 
veiled mistress of the house, while we remained in the 
entrance chamber or hall. The evening meal was anti- 
cipated by two hours, in order that we might attend 
the meeting at which my bride and I were to receive 
our formal admission into the Zinta. 



( ^JZ ) 



CHAPTEE XIII. 

THE CHILDREN OF LIGHT. 

" Probably," said Esmo, when, apparently at a sign from 
him, our host left ns for some minutes alone, "much 
through which you are about to pass will seem to you 
childish or unmeaning. Ceremonial rendered impressive 
to us by immemorial antiquity, and cherished the more 
because so contrary to the absence of form and ceremony 
in the life around us — symbolism which is really the 
more useful, the more valuable, because it contains much 
deeper meaning than is ever apparent at first sight — have 
proved their use by experience ; and, as they are gener- 
ally witnessed for the first time in early youth, make a 
sharper impression than they are likely to effect upon a 
mind like yours. But they may seem strangely incon- 
sistent with a belief which is in itself so limited, and 
founded so absolutely upon logical proof or practical 
evidence. The best testimony to the soundness of our 
policy in this respect is the fact that our vows, and the 
rites by which they are sanctioned, are never broken, 
that our symbols are regarded with an awe which no 
threats, no penalties, can attach to the highest of civil 
authorities or the most solemn legal sanctions. The 
language of symbol, moreover, has for us two great 
advantages — one dependent upon the depth of thought 
VOL. L s 



2/4 Across ihe Zodiac. 

and knowledge with which the symbols themselves were 
selected by our Founder, owin;^ to which each genera- 
tion finds in them some new truth of which we never 
dreamed before ; the other arising from the fact that we 
are a small select body in the midst of a hostile and 
jealous race, from whom it is most important to keep 
the key of communications which, without the appear- 
ance, have all the effect of ciphers." 

" I find," I replied, " in my own world that every 
religion and every form of occult mysticism, nay, every 
science, in its own way and \\dthin its own range, 
attaches great importance to symbols in themselves 
apparently arbitrary. Experience shows that these 
symbols often contain a clue to more than they were 
orginally meant to convey, and can be employed in 
reasonings far beyond the grasp of those who first 
invented or adopted them. That a body like the Zinta 
could be held together without ceremonial and without 
formalities, which, if they had no other value, would 
have the attraction of secresy and exclusiveness, seems 
obviously impossible." 

Here our host rejoined us. We passed into the gallery, 
where several persons were awaiting us ; the men for the 
most part wearing a small vizor dependent from the 
turban, which concealed their faces ; the women all, 
without exception, closely veiled. As soon as Esmo 
appeared, the party formed themselves into a sort of 
procession two and two. Motioning me to take the last 
place, Esmo passed himself to its head. If the figure 
beside me were not at once recognised, I could not mis- 
take the touch of the hand that stole into my own. 
The lights in the gallery were extinguished, and then I 



The Childre7i of Light. 



-/o 



perceived a lamp held at the end of a wand of crystal, 
which gleamed above Esmo's head, and sufficed to guide 
us, giving light enough to direct our footsteps and little 
more. Perhaps this half-darkness, the twilight whicli 
gave a certain air of mystery to the scene and of un- 
certainty to the forms of objects encountered on our 
route, had its own purpose. We reached very soon the 
end of the gallery, and then the procession turned and 
passed suddenly into another chamber, apparently narrow, 
but so faintly lighted by the lamp in our leader's hands 
that its dimensions were matter of mere conjecture. 
That we were descending a somewhat steep incline I 
was soon aware ; and when we came again on to level 
ground I felt sure that we were passing through a gallery 
cut in natural rock. The light was far too dim to enable 
me to distinguish any openings in the walls ; but the 
procession constantly lengthened, though it was im- 
possible to see where and when new members joined. 
.Suddenly the light disappeared. I stood still for a 
moment in surprise, and when I again went forward I 
became speedily conscious that all our companions had 
vanished, and that we stood alone in utter darkness. 
Fearing to lead Eveena further where my own steps 
were absolutely uncertain, I paused for some time, and 
with little difficulty decided to remain where I was, 
until something should afford an indication of the pur- 
pose of those who had brought us so far, and who must 
know, if they had not actual means of observing, that 
in darkness and solitude I should not venture to 
proceed. 

Presently, as gradually as in ISTorthern climates the 
night passes into morning twilight, the darkness became 



276 Across the Zodiac. 

less absolute. Whence the light came it was impossible 
to perceive. Diffused all around and slowly broadening, 
it just enabled me to discern a few paces before us the 
verge of a gvilf. This might have been too shallow 
for inconvenience, it might have been deep enough for 
danger. I waited till my eyes should be able to pene- 
trate its interior ; but before the light entered it I per- 
ceived, apparently growing across it, really coming 
gradually into view under the brightening gleam, a 
species of bridge which — when the twilight ceased to 
increase, and remained as dim as that cast by the cres- 
cent moon — assumed the outline of a slender trunk 
supported by wings, dark for the most part but defined 
along the edge by a narrow band of brightest green, 
visible in a gleam too faint to show any object of a 
deeper shade. Somewhat impatient of the obvious 
symbolism, I hurried Eveena forward. Immediately on 
the other side of the bridge the path turned almost at 
right angles ; and here a gleam of light ahead afforded 
a distinct guidance to our steps. Approaching it, we 
were challenged, and I gave the answer with which I 
had been previously furnished ; an answer wliidi may 
not be, as it never has been, written down. A door 
parted and admitted us into a small vestibule, at the 
other end of W'hich a full and bright light streamed 
through a portal of translucent crystal. A sentinel, 
armed only with the antiquated spear which may have 
been held by his first predecessor in office ten thousand 
Martial years ago, now demanded our names. Mine 
he simply repeated, but as I gave that of Eveena, 
daughter of Esmo, he lowered his weapon in the salute 
still traditional among Martial sentries ; and bending his 



The Childrai of Light. 2/7 

head, touched with his lips the long sleeve of the cloak 
of tlicrne-(\Q\s\^ in which she was on this occasion again 
enveloped. This homage appeared to surprise her almost 
as much as myself, but we had no leisure for observation 
or inquiry. From behind the crystal door another 
challenge was uttered. To this it was the sentry's part 
to reply, and as he answered the door parted ; that at 
the other end of the vestibule having, I observed, closed 
as we entered, and so closed that its position was undis- 
coverable. Before us opened a hall of considerable size, 
consisting of three distinct vaults, defined by two rows 
of pillars, slender shafts resembling tall branchless trees, 
the capital of each being formed by a branching head 
like that of the palm. Tlie trunks were covered witli 
golden scales ; the fern-like foliage at the summit was 
of a bright sparkling emerald. It was evident to my 
observation that the entire hall had been excavated 
from solid rock, and the pillars left in their places. 
Each of the side aisles, if I may so call them, was occu- 
pied by four rows of seats similarly carved in the natural 
stone ; but lined after Martial fashion, with cushions 
embroidered in feathers and metals, and covered by 
woven fabrics finer than any known to the looms of 
Lyons or Cashmere. About two-thirds of the seats 
were occupied ; those to the right as we entered (that 
is, on the left of the dais at the end of the hall) by men, 
those opposite by women. All, I observed, rose for a 
moment as Eveena's name was announced, from the 
further end of the hall, by the foremost of three or four 
persons vested in silver, with belts of the crimson metal 
which plays tlie part of our best-tempered steel, and 
bearing in their hands wands of a rose-coloured jewel 



2/8 Across tJic Zodiac. 

resembling a clouded onyx in all but the hue. Each of 
them wore over his dress a band or sash of gold, fastened 
on the left shoulder and descending to the belt on the 
right, much resembling the ribbons of European knight- 
liood. These supported on the left breast a silver star, 
or heraldic mullet, of six points. Throughout the rest 
of the assembly a similar but smaller star glimmered 
on every breast, supported, however, by green or silver 
bands, the former worn by the body of the assembly, 
the latter by a few persons gathered together for the 
most part at the upper end of the chamber. . . . The 
chief who had first addressed us bade us pass on, and 
we left the Hall of the Novitiate as accepted members 
of the Order. . . . That into which we next entered 
was so dark that its form and dimensions were scarcely 
defined to my eyes. I supposed it, however, to be cir- 
cular, surmounted by a dome resembling in colour the 
olive green Martial sky and spangled by stars, among 
which I discerned one or two familiar constellations, 
but most distinctly, brightened far beyond its natural 
brilliancy, the arch of the Via Ladea. Presently, not 
on any apparent sheet or screen but as in the air before 
us, appeared a narrow band of light crossing the entire 
visible space. It resembled a rope twisted of three 
strands, two of a deep dull hue, the one apparently orange, 
the other brown or crimson, contrasting the far more 
brilliant emerald strand that formed the third portion 
of the threefold cord. I had learnt by this time that 
metallic cords so twined serve in Mars most of the uses 
for which chains are employed on Earth, and I assumed 
that this symbol possessed the significance which poetry 
or ritual micrht attach to the latter. 



The Childrcji of LigJit. 279 

This cord or band retained its position throughout, 
crossing the dark background of the scenes now suc- 
cessively presented, each of which melted into its 
successor — rapidly, but so gradually that there was 
never a distinct point of division, a moment at which 
it was possible to say that any new feature was first 
introduced. 

A bright mist of various colours intermixed in inex- 
tricable confusion, an image of chaos but for the dim 
light reflected from all the particles, filled a great part 
of the space before us, but the cord was still discernible 
in the background. Presently, a bright rose-coloured 
point of light, taking gradually the form of an Eye, 
appeared above the cord and beyond the mist; and, 
emanating from it, a ray of similar light entered the 
motionless vapour. Then a movement, whose character 
it was not easy to discern, but which constantly became 
more and more evidently rhythmical and regular, com- 
menced in the mist. "Within a few moments the latter 
liad dissolved, leaving in its place the semblance of 
stars, star-clusters, and golden nebuke, as dim and 
confused as that in the sword-belt of Orion, or as 
well defined as any of those called by astronomers 
planetary. 

" What seest thou ? " said a voice whose very direc- 
tion I could not recognise. 

" Cosmos evolved out of confusion by Law ; Law- 
emanating from Supreme Wisdom and irresistible Will." 

" And in the triple band ? " 

" The continuity of Time and Space preserved by the 
continuity of Law, and controlled by the Will that gave 
Law." 



28o Across the Zodiac. 

While I spoke a single nebula grew larger, brighter, 
and filled the entire space given throughout to the pic- 
tures presented to us ; stars and star- clusters gradually 
fading away into remoter distance. This nebula, of 
spherical shape — formed of coarser particles than the 
previous mist, and reflecting or radiating a more bril- 
liant effulgence — was in rapid whirling motion. It 
flattened into the form of a disc, apparently almost 
circular, of considerable depth or thickness, visibly 
denser in the centre and thinner towards the rounded 
edge. I'resently it condensed and contracted, leaving 
at each of the several intervals a severed ring. Most of 
these rings broke up, their fragments conglomerated 
and forming a sphere ; one in particular separating into 
a multitude of minuter spheres, others assuming a 
highly elliptical form, condensing here and thinning 
out there; while the central mass grew brighter and 
denser as it contracted; till there lay before me a perfect 
miniature of the solar system, with planets, satellites, 
asteroids, and meteoric rings. 

" What seest thou ? " again I heard. 

" Intelligence directing Will, and Will by Law deve- 
loping the microcosm of which this world is one of the 
smallest parts." 

The orb which represented Mars stood still in the 
centre of the space, and this orb soon occupied the 
whole area. It assumed at first the form of a vast 
vaporous globe; then contracted to a comparatively 
small sphere, glowing as if more than red-hot, and leaving 
as it contracted two tiny balls revolving round their 
primary. The latter gradually faded till it gave out no 
light but that which from some unseen source was cast 



The CJiildreii of Light. 28 1 

upon it, one-half consequently contrasting in darkness 
the reflected brightness of the other. Ere long it pre- 
sented the appearance of sea and land, of cloud, of 
snow, and ice, and became a perfect image of the Mar- 
tial sphere. Then it gave place to a globe of water 
alone, within which the processes of crystallisation, as 
exhibited first in its simpler then in its more compli- 
cated forms, were beautifully represented. Then there 
appeared, I knew not how, but seemingly developed by 
the same agency and in the same manner as tlie cry- 
stals, a small transparent sphere within the watery 
globe, containing itself a spherical nucleus. From this 
were evolved gradually two distinct forms, one resem- 
bling very much some of the simplest of those trans- 
parent creatures which the microscope exhibits to us 
in the water drop, active, fierce, destructive in their 
scale of size and life as the most powerful animals of 
the sea and land. The other was a tiny fragment of 
tissue, gradually shaping itself into the simplest and 
smallest specimens of vegetable life. The watery globe 
disappeared, and these two were left alone. From each 
gradually emerged, growing in size, complexity, and 
distinctness, one form after another of higher organisa- 
tion, 

" What seest thou ? " 
" Life called out of lifelessness by Law." 
Again, so gradually that no step of the process could 
be separately distinguished, formed a panorama of vege- 
table and animal life ; a landscape in which appeared 
some dozen primal shapes of either kingdom. Each of 
these gradually dissolved, passing by slow degrees into 
several higher or more perfect shapes, till there stood 



282 Across the Zodiac. 

before our eyes a picture of life as it exists at present ; 
and Man in its midst, more obviously even than on 
Earth, dominating and subduing the fellow-creatures 
of whom he is lord. From which of the innumerable 
animal forms that had been presented to us in the 
course of these transmutations this supreme form had 
arisen, I did not note or cannot remember. But that 
no true ape appeared among them, I do distinctly recol- 
lect, having been on the watch for the representation 
of such an epoch in the pictured history. 

"What was now especially noteworthy was that, sohd 
as they appeared, each form was in some way trans- 
parent. From the Emblem before mentioned a rose- 
coloured light pervaded the scene ; scarcely discernible 
in the general atmosphere, faintly but distinctly trace- 
able in every herb, shrub, and tree, more distinguishable 
and concentrated in each animal. But in plant or ani- 
mal the condensed light was never separated and indi- 
vidualised, never parted from, though obviously gathered 
and agglomerated out of, the generally diffused rosy 
sheen that tinged the entire landscape. It was as 
though the rose-coloured light formed an atmosphere 
which entered and passed freely through the tissues of 
each animal and plant, but brightened and deepened in 
those portions which at any moment pervaded any 
organised shape, while it flowed freely in and out of all. 
The concentration was most marked, the connection 
with the diffused atmosphere least perceptible, in those 
most intelligent creatures, like the amba and carxc, 
which in the service of man appear to have acquired a 
portion of human intelligence. But turning to the type 
of Man himself, the light within his body had assumed 



The Children of L ight. 2 8 3 

the shape of the frame it filled and appeared to animate. 
In him the rose-coloured image which exactly corre- 
sponded to the body that encased it was perfectly indi- 
vidualised, and had no other connection with the re- 
mainder of the light than that it appeared to emanate 
and to be fed from the original source. As I looked, 
the outward body dissolved, the image of rosy light 
stood alone, as human and far more beautiful than 
before, rose upward, and passed away. 

" What seest thou ? " was uttered in an even more 
earnest and solemn tone than heretofore. 

" Life," I said, " physical and spiritual ; the one sus- 
tained by the other, the spiritual emanating from the 
Source of Life, pervading all living forms, affording to 
each the degree of individuality and of intelligence 
needful to it, but in none forming an individual entity 
apart from the race, save in Man himself ; and in Man 
forming the individual being, whereof the flesh is but the 
clothing and the instrument." 

The whole scene suddenly vanished in total darkness ; 
only again in one direction a gleam of light appeared, 
and guided us to a portal through which we entered 
another long and narrow passage, terminating in a 
second vesiibule before a door of emerald crystal, bril- 
liantly illuminated by a light within. Here, again, our 
steps were arrested. The door was guarded by two 
sentries, in whom I recognised Initiates of the Order, 
wearers of the silver sash and star. The password and 
sign, whispered to me as we left the Hall of theNoviLiate, 
having been given, the door parted and exposed to our 
view the inmost chamber, a scene calculated to strike 
the eye and impress the mind not more by its splendour 



284 Aci'oss the Zodiac. 

and magnificence than by the unexpectetl cliaracter it 
displayed. It represented a garden, but the boundaries 
were concealed by the branching trees, the arches of 
flowering creepers, the thickets of flowers, shrubs, and 
tall reeds, which in every direction imitated so perfectly 
the natural forms that the closest scrutiny would have 
been required to detect their artificiality. Tlie general 
form, however, seemed to be that of a square entered by 
a very short, narrow passage, and divided by broad patlis, 
forming a cross of equal arms. At the central point of 
this cross was placed on a pedestal of emerald a statue in 
gold, which recalled at once the features of the Founder. 
The space might have accommodated two thousand per- 
sons, but on the seats — of a material resembling ivory, 
each of them separately formed and gathered in irre- 
gular clusters — there were not, I thought, more than four 
hundred or five hundred men and women intermingled ; 
the former dressed for the most part in green, the latter in 
pink or white, and all wearing the silver band and star. 
At the opposite end, closing the central aisle, was a low 
narrow platform raised by two steps carved out of the 
natural rock, but inlaid with jewellery imitating closely 
the variegated turf of a real garden. On this were 
placed, slanting backward towards the centre, two rows 
of six golden seats or thrones, whose occuj)ants wore the 
golden band over silver robes. That next the interval, 
but to the left, was filled by Esmo, who to my surprise 
wore a robe of white completely covering his figure, and 
contrasting signally the golden sash to which his star 
was attached. On liis left arm, bare below the elbow, 
I noticed a fiat thick band of plain gold, with an emerald 
seal, bearing the same proportion to the bracelet as a 



The Childi'cn of LigJif. 285 

large signet to its finger ring. What struck me at once 
as most remarkable was, that the seats on the dais and 
the forms of their occupiers were signally relieved against 
a background of intense darkness, whose nature, how- 
ever, I could not discern. The roof was in form a trun- 
cated pyramid ; its material a rose-coloured crystal, 
through which a clear soft light illuminated the whole 
scene. Across the floor of the entrance, immediately 
within the portal, was a broad band of the same crystal, 
marking the formal threshold of the Hall. Immediately 
inside this stood the same Chief who had received us in 
the former Hall ; and as we stood at the door, stretching 
forth his left hand, he spoke, or rather chanted, what, by 
the rhythmical sequence of the M'ords, by the frequent 
recurrence of alliteration and irregular rhyme, was 
evidently a formula committed to the verse of the 
Martial tongue : a formula, like all those of the Order, 
never written, but handed down by memory, and 
therefore, perhaps, cast in a shape which rendered 
accurate remembrance easier and more certain. 

"Ye who, lost in outer night, 
Reach at last the Source of Light, 
Ask ye in that light to dwell \ 
None we urge and none repel ; 
Opens at your touch the door, 
Bright within the lamp of lore. 
Yet beware ! The threshold passed, 
Fixed the bond, the ball is cast. 
Failing heart or faltering feet 
Find nor pardon nor retreat. 
Loyal faith hath guerdon given 
Boundless as the star-sown Heaven ; 
Horror fathomless and gloom 
Rayless veil the recreant's doom. 
Warned betimes, in time beware — 
Freely turn, or frankly swear." 



2 86 Across the Zodiac. 

" 'Wliat am I to swear ? " I asked. 

A voice on my left murmured in a low tone the for- 
mula, which I repeated, Eveena accompanying my words 
in an almost inaudible whisper — 

" "Whatsoe'er within the Shrine 
Eyes may see or soul divine, 
Swear we secret as the deep, 
Silent as the Urn to keep. 
By the Light we chiim to share, 
By the Fount of Light, we swear." 

As these words were uttered, I became aware that 
some change had taken place at the further end of the 
Hall. Looking up, the dark background had disappeared, 
and under a species of deep archway, behind the seats of 
the Chiefs, was visible a wall diapered in ruby and gold, 
and displaying in various interwoven patterns the several 
symbols of the Zinta. Towards the roof, exactly in the 
centre, was a large silver star, emitting a light resem- 
bling that which the full moon sheds on a tropical scene, 
but far more brilliant. Around this was a broad golden 
circle or band ; and beneath, the silver image of a serpent 
— perfectly reproducing a typical terrestrial snake, but 
coiled, as no snake ever coils itself, in a double circle or 
figure of eight, with the tail wound around the neck. 
On the left was a crimson shield or what seemed to be 
such, small, round, and swelling in the centre into a 
sharp point ; on the right three crossed spears of silver 
with crimson blades pointed upward. But tlie most 
remarkable object — immediately filling the interval 
between the seats of the Chiefs, and carved from a huge 
cubic block of emerald — was a Throne, ascended on each 
side by five or six steps, the upper step or seat extend- 



The Children of Light. 287 

ing nearly across the whole some two feet below the 
surface, the next forming a footstool thereto. Above 
this was a canopy, seemingly self-supported, of circular 
form. A chain formed by interlaced golden circles was 
upheld by four great emerald wings. Within the chain, 
again, was the silver Serpent, coiled as before and rest- 
ing upon a surface of foliage and flowers. In the centre 
of all was repeated the silver Star within the golden 
band ; the emblem from which the Order derives its 
name, and in which it embodies its deepest symbolism. 
Following again the direction of my unseen prompter, 
I repeated words which may be roughly translated as 
follows : — 

" By t!ie outer Night of gloom, 
By tlie ray tliat leads us home, 
By the Light we claim to share, 
By the Fouat of Light, we swear. 
Prompt obedience, heart and hand, 
To the Signet's each command : 
For the Symbols, reverence mute, 
In the Sense faith absolute. 
Link by link to weld the Chain, 
Link with link to bear the strain ; 
Cherish all the Star who wear. 
As the Starlight's self — we swear. 
By the Life the Light to prove. 
In the Cii'cle's bound to move ; 
Underneath the all-seeing Eye 
Act, nor speak, nor think the lie ; 
Live, as warned that Life shall last, 
And the Future reap the Past : 
Clasp in faith the* Serpent's rings, 
Trust through death the Emerald Wings. 
Hand and voice we plight the Oath : 
Fade the life ere fail the troth \ " 

Eising from his seat and standing immediately before 



2 88 Ac7'oss the Zodiac. 

and to the left of the Throne, Esmo replied. But before 
lie had spoken half-a-dozen words, a pressure on my 
arm drew my eyes from him to Eveena. She stood 
fixed as if turned to stone, in an attitude which for one 
ileeting instant recalled that of the sculptured figures 
undergoing sudden petrifaction at the sight of the Gor- 
gon's head. This remembered resemblance, or an instinc- 
tive sympathy, at once conveyed to me the consciousness 
that the absolute stillness of her attitude expressed a 
horror or an awe too deep for trembling. Looking into 
her eyes, which alone were visible, their gaze fixed 
intently on the Throne, at once caught and controlled 
my own ; and raising my eyes again to the same point, 
I stood almost equally petrified by consternation and 
amazement. I need not say how many marvels of no 
common character I have seen on Earth; how many 
visions that, if I told them, none who have not shared 
them would believe; wonders that the few who have 
seen them can never forget, nor — despite all experience 
and all theoretical explanation — recall without renewing 
the thrill of awe-stricken dismay with which the sight 
was first beheld. But no marvel of the Mystic Schools, 
no spectral scene, objective or subjective, ever evoked 
by the rarest of occult powers, so startled, so impressed 
me as what I now saw, or thought I saw. The Throne, 
on which but a few moments before my eyes had been 
steadily fixed, and which had then assuredly been vacant, 
was now occupied ; and occupied by a Presence which, 
though not seen in the flesh for ages, none who had ever 
looked on the portrait that represented it could forget 
or mistake. The form, the dress, the long white hair 
and beard, the grave, dignified countenance, above all 



The Children of Light. 289 

the deep, scrutinising, piercing eyes of the Founder — as 
I had seen them on a single occasion in Esmo's house — 
were now as clearly, as forcibly, presented to my sight 
as any figure in the flesh I ever beheld. The eyes were 
turned on me with a calm, searching, steady gaze, whose 
effect was such as Southey ascribes to Indra's : — ■ 

" Tlie look he gave was solemn, not severe ; 
No hope to Kailyal it conveyed, 
And yet it struck no fear." 

For a moment they rested on Eveena's veiled and droop- 
ing figure with a widely different expression. That look, 
as I thought, spoke a grave but passionless regret or pity, 
as of one who sees a child unconsciously on the verge of 
peril or sorrow that admits neither of warning nor rescue. 
That look happily she did not read ; but we both saw 
the same object and in the same instant; we both stood 
amazed and appalled long enough to render our hesita- 
tion not only apparent, but striking to all around, many 
of whom, following the direction of my gaze, turned 
their eyes upon the Throne. What they saw or did not 
see I know not, and did not then care to think. The 
following formula, pronounced by Esmo, had fallen not 
unheard, but almost unheeded on my ears, though one 
passage harmonised strangely with the sight before me : — 

" Passing sign and fleeting breath 
Bind the Soul for life and death ! 
Lifted hand and plighted word 
Eyes have seen and ears have heard ; 
Eyes have seen — nor ours alone ; 
Fell the sound on ears unknown. 
Age-long labour, strand by strand, 
Forged the immemorial band ; 
Never thread hath known decay. 
Never link hath dropped away." 

Here he paused and beckoned us to advance. The sign, 

VOL. I. T 



290 Acivss the Zodiac. 

twice repeated before I could obey it, at last broke the 
spell that enthralled me. Under the most astounding 
or awe-striking circumstances, instinct moves our limbs 
almost in our own despite, and leads us to do with 
paralysed will what has been intended or is expected 
of us. This instinct, and no conscious resolve to over- 
come the influence that held me spell-bound, enabled 
me to proceed ; and I led Eveena forward by actual if 
gentle force, till we reached the lower step of the plat- 
form. Here, at a sign from her father, we knelt, while, 
laying his hands on our heads, and stooping to kiss each 
upon the brow — Eveena raising her veil for one moment 
and dropping it again — he continued — 

" So we greet you evermore, 
Brethren of the deathless Lore ; 
So your vows our own renew, 
Sworn to all as each to you. 
Yours at once the secrets won 
Age by age, from sire to son ; 
Yours the fruit through countless years 
Grown by thought and toil and tears. 
He who guards you guards his own. 
He who fails you fails the Throne." 

The last two lines were repeated, as by a simultaneous 
impulse, in a low but audible tone by the whole assembly. 
In the meantime Esmo had invested each of us with the 
symbol of our enrolment in the Zinta, the silver sash 
and Star of the Initiates. The ceremonial seemed to me 
to afford that sort of religious sanction and benediction 
which had been so signally wanting to the original form 
of our union. As we rose I turned my eyes for a mo- 
ment upon the Throne, now vacant as at first. Another 
Chief, followed by the voices of the assembly, repeated, 
in a low deep tone, which fell on our ears as distinctly 



The Children of Light. 291 

as the loudest trumpet-note in the midst of absolute 
silence, the solemn imprecation — 

" Who denies a brother's need, 
Who in will, or word, or deed, 
Breaks the Circle's bounded line, 
Rends the Veil that guards the Shrine, 
Lifts the hand to lips that lie, 
Fronts the Star witli soothless eye : — 
Dreams of horror haunt his rest, 
Storms of madness vex his breast, 
Snares surround him. Death beset, 
Man forsake — and God forget ! " 

It was probably rather the tone of profound convic- 
tion and almost tremulous awe with which these 
words were slowly enunciated by tlie entire assem- 
blage, than their actual sense, though the latter is 
greatly weakened by my translation, that gave them 
an effect on my own mind such as no oath and no 
rite, however solemn, no religious ceremonial, no forms 
of the most secret mysteries, had ever produced. I 
was not surprised that Eveena was far more deeply 
affected. Even the earlier words of the imprecation 
had caused her to shudder; and ere it closed she 
would have sunk to the ground, but for the support 
of my arm. Disengaging the bracelet, Esmo held out 
to our lips the signet, which, as I now perceived, re- 
produced in miniature the symbols that formed the 
canopy above the throne. A few moments of deep 
and solemn silence had elapsed, when one of the 
Chiefs, who, except Esmo, had now resumed their 
seats, rose, and addressing himself to the latter, said — 
" The Initiate has shown in the Hall of the Vision 
a knowledge of the sense embodied in our symbols, of 
the creed and thoughts drawn from them, which he 



292 Across the Zodiac. 

can hardly have learned in the few hours that have 
elapsed since you first spoke to him of their existence. 
If there be not in his world those who have wrought 
out for themselves similar truths in not dissimilar 
forms, he must possess a rare and almost instinctive 
power to appreciate the lessons we can teach. I will 
ask your permission, therefore, to put to him but one 
question, and that the deepest and most difficult of all." 

Esmo merely bent his head in reply. 

"Can you," said the speaker, turning to me with 
marked courtesy, " draw meaning or lesson from the 
self-entwined coil of tlie Serpent ? " 

I need not repeat an answer which, to those familiar 
with the oldest language of Terrestrial symbolism, 
would have occurred as readily as to myself ; and 
which, if they could understand it, it would not be 
well to explain to others. The three principal elements 
of thought represented by the doubly- coiled serpent 
are the same in Mars as on Earth, confirming in so far 
the doctrine of the Zinta, that their symbolic language 
is not arbitrary, but natural, formed on principles in- 
herent in the correspondence between things spiritual 
and physical. Some similar but trivial query, whose 
purport I have now forgotten, was addressed by the 
junior of the Chiefs to Eveena ; and I was struck by 
the patient courtesy with which he waited till, after 
two or three efforts, she sufficiently recovered her self- 
possession to understand and her voice to answer. We 
then retired, taking our place on seats remote from the 
platform, and at some distance from any of our neigh- 
bours. 

On a formal invitation, one after another of the 
brethren rose and read a brief account of some experi- 



The Children of Light. 293 

ment or discovery in the science of the Order. The 
principles taken for granted as fundamental and 
notorious truths far transcend the extremest specula- 
tions of Terrestrial mysticism. The powers claimed as 
of course so infinitely exceed anything alleged by the 
most ardent believers in mesmerism, clairvoyance, or 
spiritualism, that it would be useless to relate the few 
among these experiments which I remember and might 
be permitted to repeat. I observed that a phono- 
graphic apparatus of a peculiarly elaborate character 
wrote down every word of these accounts without oblig- 
ing the speakers to approach it ; and I was informed 
that this automatic reporting is employed in every 
Martial assembly, scientific, political, or judicial. 

I listened with extreme interest, and was more than 
satisfied that Esmo had even underrated the powers 
claimed by and for the lowest and least intelligent of his 
brethren, when he said that these, and these alone, could 
give efficient protection or signal vengeance against all 
the tremendous physical forces at command of those 
State authorities, one of the greatest of whom I had 
made my personal enemy. One battalion of Martial 
guards or police, accompanied by a single battery of 
what I may call their artillery, might, even without 
the aid of a balloon-squadron, in half-an-hour annihilate 
or scatter to the winds the mightiest and bravest army 
that Europe could send forth. Yet the Martial State 
had deliberately, and, I think, with only a due prudence, 
shrunk during ages from an open conflict of power with 
the few thousand members of this secret but inevitably 
suspected organisation. 

Esmo called on me in my turn to give such account 
as I might choose of my own world, and my journey 



2 94 Ac7'oss the Zodiac. 

thence. I frankly avowed my indisposition to explain 
the generation and action of the apergic force. The 
power which a concurrent knowledge of two separate 
kinds of science had given to a very few Terrestrials, 
and which all the science of a far more enlightened 
race had failed to attain, was in my conscientious con- 
viction a Providential trust; withheld from those in 
whose hands it might be a fearful temptation and an 
instrument of unbounded evil. My reserve was per- 
fectly intelligible to the Children of the Star, and evi- 
dently raised me in their estimation. I was much im- 
pressed by the simple and unaffected reliance placed on 
my statements, as on those of every other member of 
the Order. As a rule, Martialists are loth, and not 
without reason, to believe any unsupported statement 
that might be prompted by interest or vanity. But the 
Zveltau can trust one another's word more fully than 
the followers of Mahomet that of his strictest disciples, 
or the most honest nations of the West the most 
solemn oaths of their citizens ; while that bigotry of 
scientific unbelief, that narrowness of thought which 
prevails among their countrymen, has been dispelled by 
their wider studies and loftier interests. They have a 
saying, whose purport might be rendered in the pro- 
verbial language of the Aryans by saying that the liar 
" kills the goose that lays the golden eggs." Again, 
" The liar is like an opiatised tunneller " (miner), i.e., 
more likely to blow himself to pieces than to effect his 
purpose. Again, " The liar drives the point into a 
friend's heart, and puts the hilt into a foe's hand." The 
maxim that " a lie is a shield in sore need, but the spear 
of a scoundrel," affirms the right in extremity to pre- 
serve a secret from impertinent inquisitiveness. Earely, 



The Children of Light. 295 

but on some peculiarly important occasions, the Zveltau 
avouch their sincerity by an appeal to their own spn- 
bols ; and it is affirmed that an oath attested by the 
Circle and the Star has never, in the lapse of ages, been 
broken or evaded. 

Before midnight Esmo dismissed the assembly by a 
formula which dimly recalled to memory one heard in 
my boyhood. It is not in the power of my translation 
to preserve the impressive solemnity of the immemorial 
ritual of the Zinta, deepened alike by the earnestness 
of its delivery, and the reverence of the hearers. There 
was something majestic in the mere antiquity of a 
liturgy whereof no word has ever been committed to 
writing. Five hundred generations have, it is alleged, 
gathered four times in each year in the Hall of Initia- 
tion; and every meeting has been concluded by the 
utterance from the same spot and in the same words of 
the solemn but simple Zulvakalfe [word of peace] :— 

" Peace be with you, near and far, 
Children of the Silver Star ; 
Lore undoubting, conscience clean, 
Hope assured, and life serene. 
By the Light that knows no flaw, 
By the Circle's perfect law. 
By the Serpent's life renewed. 
By the Wings' similitude — 
Peace be yours no force can break ; 
Peace not death hath power to shake ; 
Peace from passion, sin, ana gloom. 
Peace of spirit, heart, and home ; 
Peace from peril, fear, and pain ; 
Peace, until we meet again — 
Meet— before yon sculptured stone, 
Or the All-Commander's Throne." 

Before we finally parted, Esmo gave me two or three 
articles to which he attached especial value. The most 



296 Across the Zodiac. 

important of tliese was a small cube of translucent 
stone, in which a multitude of diversely coloured frag- 
ments were combined ; so set in a tiny swivel or swing 
of gold that it might be conveniently attached to the 
watch-chain, the only Terrestrial article that I still wore. 
" This," he said, " will test nearly every poison known 
to our science ; each poison discolouring for a time one 
or another of the various substances of which it is com- 
posed ; and poison is perhaps the weapon least unlikely 
to be employed against you when known to be connected 
with myself, and, I will hope, to possess the favour of 
the Sovereign. If you are curious to verify its powers, 
the contents of the tiny medicine-chest I liave given 
you will enable you to do so. There is scarcely one of 
those medicines which is not a single or a combined 
poison of great power. I need not warn you to be care- 
ful lest you give to any one the means of reaching them. 
I have shown you the combination of magnets which 
will open each of your cases ; that demanded by the 
chest is the most complicated of all, and one which can 
hardly be hit upon by accident. Nor can any one force 
or pick open a case locked by our electric apparatus, 
save by cutting to pieces the metal of the case itself, 
and this only special tools will accomplish ; and, unless 
peculiarly skilful, the intruder would probably be 
maimed or paralysed, if not killed by . . . 



END OF VOL. I. 



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