LIFE IN A THOUSAND WORLDS
REV. W. S. HARRIS.
Author of Mr. World and Miss Church-Member, Modern Fables and Parables, Sermons by the Devil, etc., etc.
Published by The Minter Company, Harrisburg, Pa.
WHO FOR MY GOOD COUNTED NONE OF HER SACRIFICES TOO GREAT AND WHO IS NOW RECEIVING HER REWARD IN THE CELESTIAL LIFE THIS VOLUME IS LOVINGLY
1. Portrait of the Author 2. Gazing at the Starry Firmament 3. A City on the Moon 4. How a "Trust" Monopolizes Rain and Light on Mars 5. The Largest Telescope in the Universe 6. An Air Ship on Saturn 7. Living in Fire on a Fixed Star 8. Fishing for Land Animals 9. Monopolizing Liquid Air on Airess 10. Floating Cities of Plasden 11. A Captive on a Planet of Duhbe 12. The Millennial Dawn 13. Low-life Warfare on Scum 14. Battle Between "Flying Devils" in the Air 15. "Trusts" in the Diamond World 16. Tunnel Through Holen's Center 17. A Scene of Rejoicing in Brief 18. Beautiful Plume and Her Wings 19. A Glimpse of Heaven
1. Are There More Worlds Than One? 2. A Visit to the Moon 3. A Visit to Mars 4. A Glimpse of Jupiter 5. Beautiful Saturn 6. The Nearest Fixed Star 7. The Water World Visited 8. Tor-tu 9. A Problem in Political Economy 10. Floating Cities 11. A World of Ideal Cities 12. A World Enjoying Its Millennium 13. A World of High Medical Knowledge 14. A World of Low Life 15. A World of Highest Invention 16. A Singular Planet 17. The Diamond World 18. Triumphant Feat of Orion 19. The Mute World 20. Brief 21. The Life on Wings 22. Heaven
Synopsis of Contents.
Are There More Worlds Than One?
Why are countless worlds swinging in the endless regions of space? The author believes that thousands are inhabited by intelligent beings.
A Visit to the Moon.
Description of a novel city of over 60,000 Moonites. The inhabitants of the Moon are described as dwarfs having no noses because they live by eating solid air. Their odd houses, expressive paintings, strange religion, wonderful history, novel government, happy home life, etc., interestingly described.
A Visit to Mars.
Marsites described as giants needing four arms. The ultimate results of capitalistic oppression graphically portrayed by a curtain system. The description of the Marsite curtain system embodies a tremendous thrust at monopolistic trusts, and should be read by Americans by the millions. The author captured by Marsmen. Illustration.
A Glimpse of Jupiter.
Jupiterites described as colossal giants averaging twenty-five feet in height. Their language a marvel of simplicity far surpassing the English language. What Jupiterites can see with their powerful magnifying lenses. The author looked, through their largest telescope and saw ships sailing in New York City harbor. Illustration.
Physical features. Woman the ruling genius. Excursions in airships. Illustration. Marvelous language-music. Churches on Saturn far better than those on Earth.
The Nearest Fixed Star.
The inhabitants of Alpha Centaurus live as comfortably in fire as Earthites live in air or fishes in water. One of their aerial fire carriages described. Illustration.
The Water World Visited.
On Stazza the people live in water about as fishes do on Earth. Their homes and cities under water described. Fishing for land animals. Illustration. Some of their inventions far surpass those of our own world.
A far more beautiful world than ours. The moral life of Tortu the cleanest found in any world, and interesting reasons given.
A Problem in Political Economy.
On Airess the inhabitants live on liquid air, and hence have neither noses nor lungs. Monopolists control liquid air on Airess as petroleum is controlled on Earth. Illustration. Method of breaking up the power of monopolies. This chapter is worth reading by millions of American men and women.
Palaces and large cities built on water. Illustration. A number of wonderful inventions described. Far surpass our world in reform movements.
A World of Ideal Cities.
Inhabitants described. Author made captive. Rich and poor. Ideal cities, how governed.
A World Enjoying Its Millennium.
How the Millennium was ushered in. The conditions under which millennial life is enjoyed.
A World of High Medical Knowledge.
On Dorelyn four billions of inhabitants all enjoy perfect health. The government controls the whole field of medical science just as we do the post office department. No patent medicine on Dorelyn. Many new ideas picked up in medicine and surgery.
A World of Low Life.
On Scum exist the lowest conditions of life found in any stellar world. "Notched Rod" language explained. Lizard like human forms. No Scumite knows who is his father or mother. A big Scumite battle witnessed. Illustration.
A World of Highest Invention.
A fertilizer invented making possible the raising of six crops in one of our years. A Tube Line for passenger and freight traffic. Wonderful storage batteries. A telephone that not only carries sound, but transmits the gestures and faces of the speakers. Thought photography.
A Singular Planet.
On Zik decisive battles between nations are not fought by armies on land or navies on the sea, but by flying war ships called Flying Devils sailing in the air. A battle witnessed. Illustration. A practical way of settling the strife between capital and labor. The art of maintaining youthful vigor in old ago.
The Diamond World.
On the brightest planets of the universe diamonds are as plenty as soil is on our Earth, but soil is as scarce and valuable as diamonds are in our world. The heart-rending oppression of the "Soil Trust" in the Diamond World portrayed. Illustration. The insatiable greed of "Trusts" follows the poor people into their sepulchers.
Triumphant Feat of Orion.
Description of a tunnel through the center of Holen, a globe 500 miles in diameter. Illustration of passenger car used. Its operation explained.
The Mute World.
Muteites have no audible language. They converse by pure thought transmission, and no one can conceal evil thoughts. When a Muteite criminal is brought before a Court of Justice the doors of his soul are unlocked so that all past thought-images, photographed on the sensitive living plates of his mind, are thrown open to view. No hypocrisy, no conventional lying.
The world of Brief sustains the shortest lived human beings of our universe. What we in our world crowd into seventy or eighty years of life the Briefites crowd into the narrow compass of about four years of our time. Journalism, footwear, raiment, transportation, public highways, business, religious life, etc., portrayed under such mad-rush environments.
The Life on Wings.
The inhabitants of Swift are charmingly beautiful, and many of them can be seen gracefully moving on wings through the air. A charming conversation with Plume, the most beautiful woman in the universe. Illustration.
Its greatness, permanency, inhabitants, degrees, seven typos of intelligences, unity, employments, transportation, sexual affinities, structural aspects, etc., uniquely portrayed.
Any person having a reasonable education will admit that there are many planetary worlds besides the one on which we live. But whether or not they are inhabited is an open question with most people. We had been in doubt on this point for many years, but now we are settled in our conviction that human life exists in many different worlds of space. We can give no proof of this except that we have just returned from the greatest journey we ever took. We went from world to world over long distances of space as easily as one could go from place to place on the surface of our earth. This was a journey of the soul, for surely flesh and bone could not have traveled such amazing distances. At times we were lost to this world, being entirely absorbed in the glimpses of other worlds that were flashing upon our view in happy succession.
It can been seen without saying that this book contains no more than a fragment of the things we saw and heard—the fragment that is most easily understood by human creatures born under the rules and regulations of this little dark world of ours.
There are, in certain other worlds, such wide extremes of bodily formation and mental capacities, that a picture of them in word or art would only be unbearable and in some instances decidedly revolting, just because we are trained here to one set of standards and chained to one surface of world conditions. It will be different in the after-death life to those who are wise enough to be pure and good in this world.
To make the book as practical as possible we have given a picture of some worlds where human life is inferior to ours, and of others where it is vastly superior,—saying nothing of the millennial life which we found in far off space.
Comparisons are made throughout the book between the life, habits, and customs of other worlds and our own. In picturing the low life of certain worlds we are led to see what a highly favored and greatly civilized people we are, and in describing the human achievements of certain other worlds we are led to see how short a distance we have traveled in the path of human glory and civilization.
We have also endeavored to set forth in this humble volume the common relation of all rational creatures of all worlds to one Infinite Creator. We do not question the truth of this fact, and those who ask for proof must wait to find it.
We hope that this book will be inspiring to every thoughtful mind who loves to learn more and more of the great system of intelligent life of which the human creatures of this world form one link in the chain. If the reading of this volume should open to your mind numberless suggestions and compel you to ask a host of questions, perhaps you will do as we have done,—spend a long time in training your wings to be swift enough to take the journey yourself. If you will not do this, you must patiently wait until the clods of clay are shaken off, so that your free spirit may go out to live the life more vast in other worlds.
We pray that the highest kind of good may result from the truths here advanced. If this shall be accomplished, we shall have our best reward for having given this book to the printing press.
It may seem like great exaggeration to say that this is one of the most interesting and profitable books that has been placed upon the American book market for many years. It follows no old rut; it has found a new path, and the reader is permitted to walk in regions which he never saw and of which he never read before. It is indeed a triumph of literary genius to give a picture of intelligent life in other worlds upon a scientific and philosophical basis. Other writers have attempted to give a description of conditions on the Moon, Mars, or some other single planet, but no one has succeeded in picturing the mysteries of life in a number of star worlds with such a fascination as is here found.
Some one may say that the book is only a work of imagination, but we challenge any one to produce a book that gives more timely thrusts at the evils of our present day life. By showing how the people of other worlds have fallen into their sad conditions the author sounds a note of warning to the people of this world, and by giving a glimpse of the manner in which other worlds have reached their great triumphs, he gives to the people of our world a spur to loftier ideals, to greater inventions, and to a purer life.
The publisher of this volume is proud to put upon the market a book of such high value and dignity. It is quite unusual for the subscription book market to see such a princely book come into its midst. Here we have ten dollars worth of new ideas, packed into cream form, all for one dollar, and we positively assert that nothing like it can be found anywhere in literature. Great books have no companions.
The illustrations are from the masterly hands of an artist of special merit for this class of work. He happily places himself into the midst of other worlds in order to draw the beautiful pictures that illustrate and adorn this volume. The illustrations are well worth careful examination and when studied in connection with the reading matter they are seen in their greatest beauty and value. The Publishers
Are There More Worlds Than One?
Our world is large enough to excite our interest and invite our study until we close our eyes in death. Yet there are countless other orbs scattered through the solar system and throughout the vast stretches of the starry heavens. Some of these worlds are smaller than ours, but the majority of them are hundreds or thousands of times larger.
Looking away from our solar system, we find that each star is a sun, in most instances the center of a group of worlds. So, for the lack of a better phrase, we shall say that there are millions of solar systems distributed through limitless space, each one serving its part in the great universal plan.
For what purpose are all these immense worlds shining and swinging in the depths of immensity? Could it be possible that they are nothing more than vast pieces of dead machinery, barren of all vegetable growth and intelligent life, whereon desolation and solitude forever prevail?
Our own Earth is inhabited by a large variety of living forms ranging from the microscopic bacteria and animalcula to the glorious form of man with all his superior endowments. The air, earth and water are teeming with their billions of sensitive creatures; even a breath of air, a drop of water, or a leaf on a tree often contains a miniature world of living forms.
Amidst all this confusing animation around us, is it not absurd to suppose that other worlds, larger or smaller than our own, are barren of all life, and that from them no songs of thanksgiving ever arise to the Maker and Ruler of all things?
Such a supposition not only gives us a strange view of the character and attributes of God, but is at once repulsive to our instincts; anyone wishing to accept it may do so, but as for me and for a large company of my kind, we prefer to give a larger meaning to creation and a higher glory to the Creator.
Let no one doubt that the universe is full of intelligent life, in myriad types of existence and infinite stages of development. Physically speaking, one cannot imagine the countless variety of ways in which flesh and bone may congregate around the human brain to make a sentient and intelligent creature.
Confined as we are to our little dark world, we know by sight of only one way in which the brain conveys its messages and serves its ends, namely, through a body of one hundred pounds or more of flesh and bone, formed erect, and capable of rendering service upon a moment's notice. Therefore some of us are conceited enough to believe that we are the most perfect and beautiful beings of the universe, the highest expression of creative art, and that all other creatures in a million orbs take a secondary place.
True enough, we occupy an honored position in the scale of creation, but while the people of many worlds are beneath us, yet there are many more planets whereon human genius has surpassed us, and we must be modest enough to take our rightful place in the drama of the worlds.
"How many planets, how many suns, how many milky ways are there?" you ask in one breath. Speaking alone of our own universe, of which the Milky Way is the backbone, I estimate that if we multiply the number of stars by forty-nine, we shall have the approximate number of worlds that are large enough to be classed with the family of inhabited planets.
In our immediate universe there are at least one hundred million stars, a number of which have over five hundred worlds revolving around them; others have only six or ten. The average, as above stated, is estimated at forty-nine. Then, also, far out in the depths of space, there are nebulous spots visible only through the most searching lenses. These are new systems of milky ways or new universes, so immensely distant that our most powerful telescopes cannot even resolve them into stars.
There are inhabited worlds so far from us that, if one could travel the distance around our Earth in one second, he could proceed in one direction, at this rate of speed, for twenty million years and yet see far ahead of him the flickering lights of numberless other inviting suns and worlds.
We cannot possibly grasp an idea of such infinite distances, neither can we form any adequate conception of the long, long stretches between star and star, which is the same as saying, between solar system and solar system. In our Milky Way the stars seem to be crushed together into a whitish jelly, but the awful truth looms up before us with all sublimity that, although these stars seem to lie one upon another, they are millions and trillions of miles apart.
In regard to our own solar system much speculation is rife as to the existence of human creatures on the several larger planets. Theories of all kinds have been advanced; some speculative or absurd, others so plausible as to give rise to interesting questions, such as communicating with Mars, and perhaps of taking a journey to the Moon. These suggestions, while fanciful, awaken our interest and excite our curiosity. Can any one predict the excitement that would prevail in our world if a human creature from some other planet were suddenly to set foot upon our soil? We would fling a thousand questions at him to learn something of the strange realm from which he came.
And how great would be our amazement if we were to have the exalted privilege of journeying to other worlds, seeing the types of human creatures living there, and witnessing a thousand other things too strange and wonderful to mention?
I invite you to listen as I tell a condensed story of a number of worlds which I have visited, all within the boundary line of our own universe. I cannot even tell a tithe of what I saw and heard, but must content myself with giving a passing view of a thousand worlds, some of which are situated in a very distant corner of our universe.
Well you may ask: "How could you travel from world to world and see the various forms of human life, and then remain alive to tell a part of the marvelous tale?"
If it is a mystery to you, it is also a mystery to me. I cannot describe the pinions that carried me, nor tell whence came the strength that moved my wings, any more than I can explain by what process I was preserved alive in worlds of fire, in worlds of ice, and in worlds without air. But the sight of all these things was as real to me as the dreams of the night, and it must be admitted that dreams are often as realistic as the acts of our wakeful moments.
For many years I looked outward toward the starry firmament, and at times a deep yearning possessed me to speed away to converse with the inhabitants of other spheres.
This hope I cherished so strongly that my thoughts completely overpowered me, and ere I knew it I was living at the mercy of indescribable emotions. All this continued during many revolutions of the Earth on its axis. I felt as Columbus must have felt when he was moving over strange waters. Then occurred the most notable event of my life. In the twinkling of an eye I was caught away from the Earth and, without any effort of my own, I was darting through space faster than a sunbeam.
A Visit to the Moon.
I was not prepared for the quick transit to our satellite, nor for the views thrust upon me so suddenly. Before I could well collect my thoughts I found myself in the immediate vicinity of the Moon and, strange as it may seem, I was conscious of my surroundings and knew that I had power to transport myself instantly to any place I might wish to go.
To see the Moon face to face gives a charming satisfaction which can never be realized two hundred and forty thousand miles away. I was conscious of my privilege and was determined to take all possible advantage of it.
Now how differently everything appeared from the views I had snatched through the telescope while yet on the Earth. I could not see the "Man in the Moon," whose grinning face had so often looked down upon me, but from my first point of observation everything looked as if life had never existed there and, consequently, I was about to conclude that no human beings inhabit the Moon. This theory soon vanished, for after I had traveled over a hundred miles I came to a thriving center of population, the largest city on the sphere, inhabited by more than sixty thousand rational beings.
These creatures resemble us most strongly in their mental capacities, though their bodies are out of harmony with ours, having three eyes and no nose. The third eye is situated in the center of the forehead, and the other two more toward the sides of the head.
Life is not sustained by breathing a gaseous air as we do, so that the sense of smell is performed by the protruded upper lip. At the voluntary effort to catch scent the upper lip noticeably rolls upward into a partial scroll.
I was anxious to learn how the life of these Moonites is sustained without breathing and, to my astonishment, I learned that they eat solid air at intervals of about six hours. This is not taken in connection with the regular food, but is eaten alone and carried into a separate stomach wherein it is disintegrated by the chemical action of the stomachic acids. The gases thus formed serve the same purpose as the air we breathe into our lungs.
According to the conjectures of some earthly astronomers I was expecting to see a race of immense giants. On the contrary, I found that these Moonites grow to only about one-fourth our height, but possess fully three-fourths as much circumference of body. Notwithstanding that they are so short and rotund, they are healthy and exceedingly quick in all their bodily movements.
No doubt I shall be chided for saying that these Moon-inhabitants are a handsome people, but I was enabled to judge them by a universal standard of beauty, and I looked upon them as a product of the same infinite Creator who fashioned our mortal bodies with such marvelous adaptation of means to end.
One thing is sure, were a person from the Moon to set foot upon our planet, he would estimate us to be as far out of harmony with his standards of beauty as we should consider him to be out of harmony with ours.
As might be expected, these people are very peculiar in their habits. There is a small percentage of the population who are bright stars intellectually, while others are extremely indolent. When a person wins a record for laziness, it is said of him: "He is too lazy to eat his air."
The large city to which I had come was indeed a novel sight. Its buildings average in height one-third of ours, although they occupy nearly as much ground space. They are composed almost totally of non-combustible materials.
The window panes are not made of a brittle substance like glass, but resemble mica, except that they are more tough and durable. These Moonites are wiser than we in roofing their houses. They have discovered a mineral composition which in its plastic state is daubed over the roof. This, upon hardening, is proof against all conditions of weather and never needs replacing.
There are many striking features in their architecture. In general, it may be said that they are quite far advanced in constructive ability. Some of their larger buildings look like soldiers' forts, others resemble immense bee hives, while still others appear like odd-shaped synagogues.
We are their superiors in almost every line, especially in our knowledge and use of electricity and photography, and also in our manufacturing and scientific skill. However, they have decidedly surpassed us in imitative and creative art.
Their paintings express so accurately the emotions of the heart that I found myself in tears as I saw their masterpieces. For a time I forgot that I was on the Moon, so lost was I in elevated reflections all suggested by their art creations. How I wished that I could have taken some of these specimens with me!
From the Moon our Earth looks like a large wagon-wheel hanging in the heavens. It is amusing to learn of the various opinions and superstitions that are held regarding this wagon-wheel world. Some of the Moonites declare that it is a huge lantern, hung solely for their benefit, and scoff at the idea that it might be a world inhabited by civilized beings. More intelligent Moonites venture the theory that human life could exist on the great wagon-wheel, but declare that this is quite improbable, as the whole planet is enveloped by some thick, smoky substance in which they believe it would be impossible for human life to exist. Some look upon the Earth as the mother of the Moon, and regard the Sun as the father. This sex idea runs through most of their heathen religion, and there are more who worship the Earth and the Sun than there are who worship the God who created these heavenly bodies.
I prolonged my investigations without becoming visible, taking note of numberless facts of interest which will ever be a source of pleasure and value to me. At length, however, I concluded to take advantage of a privilege and power I possessed and, becoming visible, I entered a quiet room in the presence of a very distinguished man. He was by far the most highly educated person on the Moon.
I was more surprised than he, for I expected that he would be greatly agitated at my unaccountable appearance. Imagine my surprise when he sat motionless, gazing firmly into my face which to him was out of harmony with all ideas of correct form.
I was the first to speak, and although he had manifested outwardly such self possession, I soon learned that it was a mere show of stoicism in the presence of one whom he thought to be a spirit. In an incredibly short time we were on easy speaking terms and I was gaining the object of my visit.
Among the many things of interest that I learned from this famous character were facts concerning the history of the Moon. According to the information he gave me, I figured that human life had existed on the Moon thousands of years before its appearance on the Earth. Scientifically I could not account for this on any other ground than that the Moon, being a much smaller orb, cooled off sufficiently to sustain life on its surface long before any form of life could exist on our Earth.
The Moonities of the old era were a prosperous and progressive people, far outshining their successors who now occupy the sphere. After making history for several thousand years, the human race had grown to one hundred million in numbers, and civilization had reached a surprising degree of perfection.
In those long-ago ages the Moon was a much more fertile garden than now. Luxury and refinement were enjoyed by the favored sons of that period, and no one dreamed of the horrible fate that was to sweep practically the whole race into the regions of death. My intelligent informer used excessive language in trying to picture the unequaled catastrophe that put an end to the old era.
My interest was unbounded, and with awed breath I continued listening as he described the cause of this great and terrible cataclysm.
"It all occurred about five thousand years ago," he said. "The Moon was shaken by subterraneous rumblings, followed by fiery ejections, covering a period of nearly one and one-half wagon-wheel revolutions. Whole cities were ruined, fertile valleys covered and human life was almost annihilated."
I knew what my informant meant by "one and one-half wagon-wheel revolutions." This would be a period of about forty days and nights of earthly time. Do you wonder that my mind flew back to the forty days and nights of rain that destroyed, at one time, on our Earth, the whole human family, except the few who were saved in the ark?
"What are the evidences of this horrible world-ending?" I asked.
"They are on every hand. Have you not yet seen the vast craters, the mountains of barren cinder, the stumps of immense pillars, partly excavated? All this, and very much more, silently unfolds a tale of horror that can be faintly pictured only by the imagination. Think of a holocaust so terrible that one hundred million human creatures are thereby swept into death in the narrow compass of forty days! The records that have been brought down to us by the few survivors indicate the continual wails of horror rending the sky while the volcanic disturbances continued. Thousands and millions ran from place to place to find shelter from the storm of fire. At one place the surface would open and at another the lava would run. Fate, with a merciless hand, was dragging each one into one or another of the inevitable pits."
"How many were saved?" I asked with deepening interest.
"Parts of only eight families aggregating nineteen human beings."
"And how many people are on the Moon now?"
"Almost forty million."
"How do you account for this slow growth?" I asked after I had explained that on our globe a much larger number of inhabitants sprang from a smaller number than nineteen in a shorter period of time.
This allusion cost me much explanation, and, after I had selfishly brushed his rising questions aside, I learned that large companies of the Moonites had been swept into death by frequent volcanic outbursts all along the line of the centuries.
No one can estimate my interest as I continued the conversation. But finally I decided to stroll through certain parts of the city and, thinking it advisable to give no notice of my departure, I suddenly vanished from his sight. However, before leaving the room, I observed that my bewildered auditor conjectured for a long time and reached his former conclusion that he had been in touch with an apparition.
Again I resumed my visible form and walked along one of the principal streets of the city. What novel sights greeted my eyes on every side! One cannot well imagine what excitement I aroused. Citizens who first saw me lifted their flabby arms in terror and ran to the city Bizen, a place where every inhabitant, under oath, is obliged to carry special news before communicating it elsewhere.
In a very short time the city Plins, or in our language, city authorities, were coming toward me in their costly vehicles. They were preceded, however, by what we would call a body guard. Imagine their surprise to hear me shout at the top of my voice, which sounded to them as thunder would to us: "You need not fear, I will do you no harm!"
My voice had a magical effect on the assembling host of pigmies. They looked at me with as much curiosity as I looked at them. I stepped over their heads but was careful not to trample on the children who scampered at my approach. If one could ship a car load of these children to the Earth, they would make excellent dolls, for they range in size from only six to ten inches. Finally, I sat on the roof of one of their lower buildings to watch the gathering of the multitudes and study their curious countenances.
Some of the more educated, seeing that I was peacefully inclined, ventured close to my knees and then looked the more intently into my face, all of which was agreeable, as it enabled me to get a still closer view of their faces.
I saw that the whole city was turning out, and I wondered how the alarm could have been given so speedily. Upon inquiry, a fine artist at my side tremblingly explained that the Bizen wires had been touched for block six. This meant that every house in the city had received notice of an unusual occurrence in that section. I resolved to learn more of this system and how it was operated without the aid of electricity.
Now I was besieged by a pressing host. At once I commenced to speak in Moon dialect. I told them whence I came, pointing to the large wagon-wheel that hung in their heavens. After a short discourse, I invited questions.
One of their leaders stepped nearer to me and acted as the spokesman of the crowd. His language and voice were of excellent quality and although visibly agitated, he bore himself with commendable dignity. Let me here translate our conversation into English.
"How came you here?" asked he.
"That I cannot explain."
"Did you walk or run?"
"I did neither."
Surrendering this line of inquiry, he went on to ask the following questions:
"Are there more creatures than you where you came from?"
"Large cities full of them."
"Are they smaller than you?"
"Their average height equals mine."
"It must be a ponderous world of immense giants beyond the comprehension of any inhabitant of our whole globe."
"But just as I appear large to you, you appear unnaturally small to me," I calmly added.
"How came that lump in the middle of your face?"
I knew the questioner referred to my nose. I took a good wholesome laugh, and the large concourse of people watched my wrinkling face with strange delight. The Moonites express all their emotions by exclamations and almost infinite variations of the lower lip in conjunction with their three eyes.
I told the spokesman that the lump on my face was called "nose," using our pronunciation, and that it grew there by nature and not by accident. I also informed him that each person in our world had such a nose, at which much merriment ensued. Lips twitched and quivered, as their eyes blinked and rolled. It seemed to me like a hideous way to laugh, but no doubt my nose seemed just as hideous to them.
Then I explained all about our dense atmosphere, the part that air played in our life, and what a fine convenience the nose is during eating and speaking. Of course all this was unintelligible to them.
I then busied myself in ascertaining the secret of their signal system. I learned, much to my surprise, that with scarcely any knowledge of electricity the Moonites had long ago discovered a means of communication which is somewhat similar to our wireless telegraphy. From central stations messages are transmitted to sensitive metal rods set up on each house-top, somewhat like the lightning rods that decorate house-tops on my own Earth. I also learned that a very thin atmosphere is prevalent on the Moon, and that this rare medium is more suited to their wireless telegraphy than our heavier atmosphere would be with its different composition.
I soon learned that great excitement was prevailing throughout the adjacent villages. Wireless telegraphy carried the news, and from all directions throngs were pressing toward the city. Furthermore I saw that the noted personage with whom I had spent a quiet season was now making his way toward me. Not wishing to hold further conversation with him, and desiring to escape the ever-rising tide of curious questioners, I once more became invisible and proceeded to study the physical phenomena of the Moon.
I now saw that everything bore evidence to the fearful havoc of volcanic eruptions that had laid waste so large a portion of the Moon's surface. The people live in the remaining fertile belts and patches of land which are fortunately scattered in rich profusion over the greater portion of the surface, reminding one of productive oases in the deserts of our world.
Here and there, in stately museums, are stored the relics of the old glorious civilization. At a few of these places I tarried to study the achievements of a people who flourished five thousand years ago, at a time when the civilization of our world was yet young. What an interest lay wrapped up in the time-worn relics! Naturally I thought of Pompeii as I was viewing the antique treasures that had been brought to light from their old graves of ashes, cinder and lava. In some of these specimens I saw glimpses of inventions that have never been reproduced on the Moon and never known on our Earth.
Onward I moved to take my last views of the Moon. For ragged and jagged cliffs of almost total barrenness, and yawning chasms lined with intolerable precipices, the Moon outrivals the Earth. I took a passing glimpse of the famous crater-mountains, called by our astronomers Copernicus and Theophilus, the former situated in the eastern and the latter in the western hemisphere of the Moon. The largest openings of our Earth dwindle into insignificance compared with such stupendous marvels of natural scenery.
Many similar places I visited, but I spent my last hours on the Moon in the presence of that gigantic chasm called Newton, where I was thrilled with feelings of sublimity as never before. Outstretched lay the immense opening, nearly one hundred and fifty miles long and about seventy miles broad. It was fearful to gaze into it, for my eye stretched downward mile after mile until it reached the blackness of darkness. It frequently happens that a Moonite accidentally falls into this monster Newtonian chasm. Nothing more is ever seen or heard of him.
I shuddered as I peered into this gigantic opening whose gaping mouth could swallow Pike's Peak so that its highest point would be many thousands of feet below the surface. We have nothing on our Earth that can compare with this terribly imposing sight, and as I was studying the expansive waste I could more readily understand how large numbers of human beings could be destroyed by such fabulous quantities of boiling lava as were capable of being thrown from this pit. There is no doubt that the lava and ashes hurled from this crater alone would send a withering blast of death-dealing for many hundreds of miles around.
If you have never been privileged to look upon this ponderous chasm face to face, improve your first opportunity to get a glimpse of it through as powerful a telescope as possible.
A Visit to Mars.
I need not describe the manner of my flight. It is enough to say that, to my delight, I reached our neighbor planet called Mars, and at once proceeded to study its physical features and its human life.
Everything was vastly different from what I had been long accustomed to see and to imagine, and I felt quite assured that I was living in a dream. But I knew of no way to convince myself as to my bearings, so I concluded to make the best use of my time and opportunities, and leave questionings to the future.
As a physical world Mars bears a most striking resemblance to our Earth. The length of its year is six hundred and eighty-seven of our days, and the length of its day is twenty-four hours and thirty-seven minutes. Its diameter is about one-half that of the Earth and its distance from the Sun is 142,000,000 miles. Even from our own world we can discern through a good telescope the changing colors of the planet, due to the recurring seasons, each one of which is almost twice the length of ours.
There is relatively much less water on Mars than is found on our Earth, and gravity on its surface is only thirty-eight per cent. of terrestrial gravity. Imagine, then, how light everything must be. This may account somewhat for the physical proportions of its inhabitants, for they are over twice our size, and in appearance resemble us but little. They have four arms, two extra ones extending from a point just above the knees. The two lower arms act as servants to the two higher. Thus are the four used at one time in harmony.
Mars is an older world than ours, and although it receives only one-half as much heat from the sun yet it is almost of the same temperature, owing to a peculiar condition of the atmosphere which we would call "heat retentivity."
Some scientists and philosophers will at once say that such atmospheric conditions are contrary to reason and natural law, but they must be informed that on Mars there are chemical elements and affinities not known in our world. It requires but little change in the elementary construction of the atmosphere to render it capable of strong heat-retaining properties.
Standing on the surface of this planet, my attention was easily attracted by the two frisky moons called Deimos and Phobos, at the small distance of 14,600 and 12,500 miles respectively. These two moons are constantly flying around the planet, one in about thirty hours and the other in seven and one-half hours.
The astronomers of Mars have discovered unmistakable signs of human life on the farthest of these two moons. They are hoping to be able some day to cover the intervening distance and for the first time see their old neighbors face to face.
Before I had traveled over one-half the surface of this planet I was thoroughly convinced that it was a rough, jagged world without lofty mountain ranges or peaks. The many long and narrow fertile valleys, much resembling the canons of our own Earth, absorbed my mind with more than passing interest. Looking carefully into one of these canon depressions, I saw a class of human beings in a low state of civilization; nevertheless, they were expert in agriculture and seemed to labor contentedly with a dull, plodding vigor beyond all reason.
According to appearances there seemed to be no social relation or connection between the inhabitants of one valley and those of another. At first I was greatly puzzled at these peculiar conditions.
Next I gave my attention to the highlands or wide barren ridges between the valleys. On these elevations I saw a highly civilized race of people living in great splendor. They enjoyed the privilege of traveling from one highland to another and of exchanging courtesies. Their interests were common, and their joys and sorrows were mutual.
At once I became interested in these extremes of life as exhibited in the valleys and on the highlands, and resolved that I would find the cause for these differences.
The authentic history of these Marsmen runs back through thousands of years. I learned with interest the wonderful past life on this world.
There was once a time when people all mingled together and cultivated the valleys. Each one by doing his part made it lighter for all. But after many years a few schemers combined and by their inventive genius succeeded in erecting vast sliding curtains over the valleys. These curtains were supported from the tops of the ridges on each side and, by their manipulation, the operators could keep the sunlight from any particular part of the valley.
Then these shrewd Marsmen exacted tribute from the valley-toilers, saying to them: "Give us a fifth part of your products, and we will give you sunlight."
So the toilers gave them tribute willingly, knowing that they could not live without sunlight. Then it came to pass that these toilers were burdened by reason of their taxes and they prayed to the rich that they might have sunlight at a lower price, but the rich replied:
"We cannot give you sunlight for less because it costs us much to keep in repair our immense curtain systems across the valley." So the poor toilers labored more and slept less, while the few rich on the elevations built unto themselves more spacious homes and lived in greater luxury all their days.
In process of time some of the shrewdest highlanders devised an attachment to the curtain system by which the rainfall could also be distributed at the will of the operators. Then the rich Marsmen on the elevations said to the toilers: "Give us one-fifth more of your products, and we will give you your share of the rainfall."
The poor laborers had no alternative; so they labored still more diligently to pay their taxes for light and rain, and the burden became so heavy that they could no longer bear it. So they sent up a petition praying for sunlight and rain for a one-fifth instead of a two-fifths tribute. The rich refused to listen to this prayer, whereat the toilers refused to comply with these intolerable demands.
Then did the rich magnates of the elevations draw their curtains to keep both sunshine and rain from the valley. The laborers consumed all they had until, in desperation, they asked again for sunlight and rain, but the rich refused to give either unless the toilers would promise to give a two-fifths tribute; to do this the toilers at length agreed. Then the curtains were withdrawn, the sunlight once more kissed the valley, the rain again fell upon the fields, and some of the poor, ignorant people devoutly thanked their God for these gifts.
It occurred later that one of the many toilers, whom his Creator had endowed with unusual wisdom, became the leader of the masses in struggling for their rights. He traveled the whole length of the valley and advocated that the people should unite, march to the summit of the hill, destroy the fastenings that held these curtains and, as the coverings would fall, destroy them with fire. This leader declared that they were entitled to sunlight and rain without paying tribute to man. Gradually the workers were won to his views. The rich, seeing that their investments were threatened, hired a few brilliant orators and sent them to the people to persuade them not to give heed to a man of one idea. These orators argued that it would be a great crime to destroy the property of others, and that their only way of securing happiness was to toil on with patience and keep looking for brighter days. The people listened to the specious sophistries and thus pushed aside their redeemer, putting off forever the day of their deliverance.
Similar troubles continued to arise in the valley, but the rich always succeeded in quieting the people before they rose to determined action.
Then the rich decided to put an end to these agitations among the toilers. Accordingly they cut off all communication from valley to valley, either by epistle or person, and refused longer to permit any poor toiler, or his children, to pursue any study whatever. By this method, in the course of a few hundred years, the valley dwellers lapsed into ignorant slaves, not knowing, except by tradition, that there were other people in other parts of Mars. Thus the rich continued to flourish on all the highlands, for they had extended this same policy until the toilers of the whole planet were practically galley slaves, each consigned to his own narrow canon.
After witnessing the wide extent of this slavery system, I appeared in visible form to a rich dignitary on one of the most refined highlands.
He was alone and, upon raising his eyes and seeing me before him, he was greatly amazed. To see a little man with a hairy face and with the kind of clothing I wore, was all too odd for him to take in at once. He acted as if I were some unheard-of animal, but when I addressed him in his own tongue and manifested a becomingly meek disposition, he accepted me as a deformed creature afflicted with a mild form of lunacy. Then he proceeded to examine my clothing and especially my knees, trying to solve by what freak of nature I was cursed since I had no lower arms such as he had. My small face, smooth forehead, and the short straight hair on my head aroused in him no little wonder and merriment, so that, all in all, I was the oddest freak he had ever seen. He soon showed by his manner how thankful he was that gracious nature had formed him so much more kindly than me.
His questions soon poured out upon me and I answered as briefly and intelligently as I could. He pressed me so hard as to the place of my birth that I finally informed him that I came from another world, whereat he was assured of my insanity and proceeded to fasten me by force until he might summon certain of his friends. Knowing that all the people of Mars could do me no ultimate harm and wishing to see what might be their intentions, I offered very feeble resistance to his course.
In a very short time there was grouped around me a curious set of people, all of whom seemed to me so horribly ugly that I felt well satisfied that I had been born on the Earth. Among the company were some eminent scholars who did no more than peer at one another and walk about me, while they were waiting for some learned professors to arrive from a distance. A long, tedious period ensued ere the company of judges or examiners were gathered from several adjoining highlands.
They took me into a large room where followed an indescribable examination during which I purposely remained silent.
The button and button holes of my clothing attracted as much attention as my unnaturally shaped head. My collar and necktie were conundrums. Not one of the learned scholars was able to advance a theory as to the probable use of such a stiff piece under my head. I could not conceal my smiles as I heard the flying theories as to the use of my cuffs. One specialist decided that inasmuch as I had only two arms, I wore these to make them appear larger. This was accepted as the most plausible explanation.
Several times they urged me to speak. The man to whom I had first appeared had told them that I was expert in their language. But I would not utter a word, being anxious to learn all I could by listening to their conjectures.
Some of my examiners were sure I belonged to a species of their animal creation, who, in some unaccountable manner, had received the gift of intelligence. But this opinion did not gain ground, as no one could account for the manner of my clothing and especially for my pocket knife and other accompaniments. No one believed that I came from another world, and yet no one could see how or where I had originated on Mars.
Finally one of the company struck upon a popular theory. He argued that I belonged to a tribe of creatures that had developed far away in one of their almost unending forests, and that I was the first of my kind that had ever ventured so far from home.
"But how did he learn our language?" queried one.
"Any intelligent creature would by nature alone come to our language," was the conceited explanation of another.
Another gave a better theory which was at length accepted. He said that no doubt I belonged to a company that had emigrated long, long ago from one of the valleys.
After all their pains I satisfied their ruling desire by speaking. They knew not what to say as I gave them a general description of the world from which I came.
Purposely I used their most cultured forms of expression. At once I rose to a high level in their estimation and they gradually accepted my words as true. With absorbing interest they listened to every syllable and, when I paused, their questions fell upon me in wild profusion. On my account the schools were abandoned, all the leading teachers of five elevations became my astonished auditors, and after every period of sleep I was confronted by still other classes of specialists, some from more distant elevations.
Finally, feigning ignorance, I asked where they obtained their sustenance, as I had not seen one field in cultivation. They told me the whole history of the toilers in the valley as already recounted, and how the curtain magnates received their tributes which were sufficient to feed all the people of the elevations.
"What right," I asked, "has any one to form a monopoly on sunlight or rain which are free bounties from above?"
"There can be nothing wrong about that," came the positive answer. "Any man who was wise enough to think of such a splendid system of valley-covers surely deserves all the benefit that can be secured from it."
"How did you succeed in getting the people to submit to such a system?"
"It all came by force. At first they were unwilling enough, but we withdrew their education and kept them isolated. With ignorance you can conquer any people. Now they are our perfect servants, and in a short time we need not use the curtains any more. A few masters can control the whole valley. All we need to give them will be enough to eat, and the remainder of their products we can send to the elevations."
I was struck with horror at this revolting scheme, and expressed myself in strong terms. I thought of the conditions of our world and felt thankful that it had not gone so far that the laboring classes were galley slaves to the rich; and I breathed my prayer that it might never be so.
My investigations on this planet were long extended. The educated people gave me many new ideas, although they are ignorant of many advantages which we enjoy. Their means of transportation are miserable compared with ours, and when I was explaining to the Marsmen our methods of travel they were surprised beyond measure. However their knowledge of nature and forms of animal life is far superior to ours. There I solved some of the complex questions of Biology which had long puzzled my mind during my stay on the Earth.
In their religion they worship the Source of Life, and look upon the Sun as the place to which the spirit goes at death. In brief, the Sun is their Heaven. They believe that the Sun's heat will be no barrier to the spirit's complete happiness when liberated from the body. Phonetically pronounced, they call the Sun Then-ka.
I was indeed surprised at the simplicity of their devotions to their unseen God. Even the untutored toilers of the valleys talk to the Source of Life and are constantly looking forward to the time when their hard lot will be over that they may enter the Then-ka life. I could not help but think that their chances of Heaven were better than those of the highland caste; but I will not judge lest I might err. Who can understand the universal plans of Jehovah?
Before I left the Marsmen I informed them that certain enthusiasts of my world had been signaling to them for some time, and urged them to improve their astronomical apparatus so that they might be able to discern these signals and reply to them.
On account of my thoughtlessness I made an error, for I failed, while I was yet on Mars, to arrange a code of signals; hence I fear that there will be considerable experimenting before we can hope to establish communication with our neighbor world.
A Glimpse of Jupiter.
The next world I visited was Jupiter, the greatest orb in the solar system, almost fourteen hundred times as large as our Earth. I found it whirling on its axis so rapidly that it makes an entire revolution in about ten hours of our time.
This voluminous sphere is in great contrast to both the Moon and Mars. Its physical constituency resembles a liquid more than a solid, and it is quite hot but not luminous. It has cooled sufficiently to admit human forms, although certain parts of the giant planet are void of all life, owing to the more intense heat in those sections.
The atmosphere is charged with thick clouds, never at rest and continually forming into immense scrolls close to the surface of the planet.
The human life of Jupiter is found in certain belts where the crust of the planet has been hardened for several thousand years. The people have risen from rude, primitive conditions to a state of splendid civilization. In size they are colossal giants, averaging twenty-five feet in height. Their two powerful arms extend from what we would call the hips, and no one would imagine with what facility these giants use them. After extended observation, I was almost tempted to wonder why our arms were placed so high on the body. These Jupiterites are more handsome than the people on the Moon or Mars, and their faces shine with a superior intelligence. Instead of hair on the head, they have something unknown to our world, quite similar in appearance to wool.
Their two eyes blaze like balls of fire, making one of the giants appear like a fiersome though not repulsive monster. The most unusual feature about the face is the peculiarity of the chin and forehead. Each is covered with convolutions of an insensible, rubber-like membrane.
The people of Jupiter excel in mechanical skill. They build houses, but not by long, tedious days of painstaking labor. Such things as plaster and paint are unknown. A Jupiterite can purchase, from one of the mammoth structural factories, house sides, house ends, house floors or partitions, after any general design he wishes, and have them trimmed in any style his fancy suggests. The materials used are non-combustible and water-proof, and will wear indefinitely.
These houses can be put together in a few days and the trimmings adjusted in less than two weeks, unless the structure is very elaborate. Nearly all of their house furniture is also non-combustible, and no one has ever conceived the idea of forming a fire insurance company, simply because there is no need for one.
As the people are so much larger than we, so are all things relatively larger than we see them in our world. Wagons and carriages and cars appear as if they were made for mastodons.
I saw one of their largest bridges spanning a molten lake. Aside of it the East River bridge would be a dwarf, either in height or length. It is certainly thrilling to step into a world where all things are so gigantic. At times a feeling of insignificance crept over me, but I took courage when I thought that a man's greatness consists in his mental powers and not in his physical bulk, for it is true that the fifty ounces of brain in the skull of a Newton have accomplished more marvels than the ten pounds of brain-matter found in the most cultured Jupiterite.
We must give the people of Jupiter credit for exercising a large amount of common sense. In many ways they are more practical than we, and this is quite as noticeable in their language as in any other respect. They have one simple language for the whole globe and in its use they are all agreed. Their vocabulary is small because they have not yet branched out into the infinite varieties of manufacture and invention.
Their words have a marvelous correspondence with the thought or the action expressed, the manner of emphasizing syllables going a great distance toward expressing the shade of emotion desired.
I admired especially one thing on this bulky planet. They have but one authority for language. Hence there is no Century, Webster, Worcester or Standard, each rivaling the others for supremacy, to confuse the honest student with diverse spellings and pronunciations.
The words of the language of Jupiter are all embodied in one unique dictionary which is revised at intervals by a board of official educators; to this board all suggestions for inserting new words and changing the classification of old ones must be given for their consideration.
This dictionary is printed by the government, and a copy of it is furnished free to all public places and to each private family. When a revision is made, a copy of all the changes is furnished to each dictionary holder. The authority of this dictionary is final, and no one is permitted to publish a conflicting work.
The Jupiterites have displayed their highest genius in their astronomical advancements. They know all about the Solar System, and have made discoveries inside of Neptune's orbit which our astronomers have never observed. I was thrilled with delight when I saw their telescopes with the marvelous lenses that opened the locked doors of the Milky Way. No wonder the astronomers of Jupiter have a more comprehensive view of the universe than we have. Their lenses are so powerful that they have seen the outlines of our rugged mountains, and have discovered on our world unmistakable signs of human life. During my visit thither the experts were working on a much larger lens, and it is claimed that when this is finished human forms can be discerned on the Earth and can be seen with more accuracy on Mars.
The five moons that revolve around Jupiter have been studied with marked interest. Two of these moons have displayed definite signs of human life. It is promised also that the coming lens will unlock the doors of the several moons and permit the astronomers of Jupiter to pry into the secrets of their celestial neighbors.
During the past one thousand years, the Jupiterites have made numberless attempts to establish communication between these moons and their planet, but all their efforts have failed. Either the Moonites are too stupid, or the Jupiterites are not expert enough in throwing out signals or in building air ships.
For no one thing more than another did I envy the astronomers of Jupiter than for their marvelous magnifying lenses. I knew that if we had such lenses, or the material to make them, we could watch with ease the inhabitants of the Moon or of Mars, and we could study the intelligent life on Mercury and Venus, to say nothing of the great advantages we should have in observing comets and all the numberless starry systems scattered throughout illimitable space.
The religious life of Jupiter proved to be intensely interesting to me. They have a sacred book which corresponds to our Bible, and it has always remained in its original form because there is but one language.
Since I left my own world I had not felt so kindred a touch in spirit as when I invisibly entered one of their great temples of worship, as we might call it. No vocal music was there, but the mute beckoning of several thousand arms, as if to implore the favor of the great Inzoork or Creator, was impressively eloquent to me.
I was thrilled with joy as I learned more of their religion. I found that their love and service were akin to those of our planet, and that these same bonds unite them one to another. My conceptions were enlarging as I saw the family of God enlarging, and I felt that although I was unlike them in the physical, yet I was their brother in spirit, and that we all have one Father.
Religious liberty was enjoyed until a few centuries ago when certain restrictions were formulated. It was seen that some, in exercising their liberty, proved to be a curse to the state, and consequently a sharp battle ensued against the liberal element.
The Church won the conflict and now the profession of atheism is not allowed. If it can be shown that any sane person takes such a position, he is given a certain period to recant. If recantation is not forthcoming, he is placed in the public work-house until he acknowledges the existence of Deity. Atheists are scarce under this severe ruling.
You may well know how I was startled to see such summary action taken in regard to unbelievers. At first I prided myself that I belonged to a world of free thought and free speech, but when I saw the magnetic effect of these Jupiter regulations I was in doubt as to the superiority of our religious and irreligious liberties.
The soil of Jupiter yields abundantly. The animals are all large and of species unknown to us. They have animals that resemble our elephant and ox; these they use for food. Common birds, as large as geese or turkeys, flourish in the extensive forests and furnish about one-third of the food for the giants.
The vegetation is after the order of our world, except that the curse of weeds and thistles is only one-fourth as great. But the people of Jupiter have learned more than we of the use of these weeds, and certain of them are cultivated to a wide extent.
I spent a long time on the planet. I saw the fiery lakes that are fed by subterraneous streams of lava, and the geysers of blue flame darting their immense tongues high in the air.
As near as fifty miles to these fiery centers can be seen gardens of vegetation and fields under cultivation. I yielded at last to a desire that prompted me to make a personal appearance. So I stopped on a thoroughfare and occupied a rustic seat at the roadside. I was dressed in my earthly costume, and sat composedly awaiting developments.
The first living creature that observed my presence was a passing quadruped. It was larger than a wild goat, and was a small specimen after its kind. For want of a better name I will call it a "dog."
As soon as I was spied by this animal he set up a hideous howl and ran at full speed. Knowing my own homeliness, I had all charity for the animal and did not censure him for being so terribly frightened at my appearance.
Soon a full grown giant came along. He chanced to be a learned professor out for an evening walk, as we would say. He seemed to be in deep meditation and did not notice me until he was near my side. Then he stood breathless, while a feeling of fear and surprise evidently possessed him. I sat motionless, looking up into his eyes, and saw the convolutions on his forehead and chin quivering quite perceptibly. He evidently judged me to be some undeveloped species of Mon-go-din, an animal of Jupiter bearing faint resemblance to our man-ape. To my surprise, he suddenly grasped me and tightly held me fast in his gigantic arms. I made no effort to free myself.
His surprise was only intensified at my resignation. He expected a struggle, but I neither made an outcry nor resisted capture. Like an infant I lay in his arms, while he passed quick glances all over me. He was baffled beyond all measure, and hurried away toward the great college near by. Upon reaching the museum department, I was placed in a strong cage and the doors were doubly secured.
My captor ran from my presence and, in a few moments, returned with two other professors. They peered into the cage in painful astonishment, while I contented myself by taking my watch apart and occasionally glancing at my select audience.
Then commenced the jibbering consultation, all of which I well understood. My captor related the full circumstances in connection with his walk in the grove and the manner in which he captured me. He dwelt particularly on the indifference I manifested in all his dealings with me.
"It is a baby Mon-go-din," suggested the one professor, while the other advanced the theory that I was an abnormal child of some Jupiterite.
My watch excited their curiosity. One reached his hand cautiously through the bars and evinced by his actions what he wanted. I looked up into his eyes and spoke my first words.
"Patience, please, till I put the watch together, and you shall have it."
Not only did his arms fly away from the cage, but his whole body fell prostrate to the floor, whether from fright or surprise, I knew not. His two companions were also in a sorry plight. I pretended not to notice their consternation, and kept myself busy in placing the parts of my watch together.
After a while I was addressed by a trembling questioner: "Where is your home, my child?" I did not lift my eyes, but completed my little self-appointed task, and at once raised the watch in fulfillment of my promise.
The timid professor ventured to accept it and, as he received it from my hand, he again asked: "Where is your home?"
"Farther away than the circumference of your world," I distinctly answered.
At this time the three agreed that I was an insane child, born out of time, and that I satisfied my propensities by gathering to myself such idiotic things as my watch and garments, including my hat and shoes.
A quiet consultation followed, after which one of the professors retired from the room and soon returned with certain morsels of food. Upon handing them to me, I at once remarked: "Keep these morsels for yourself; I have better food to eat, of which you know nothing."
The other two professors had by this time observed that my watch was a marvelous piece of mechanism beyond their most delicate accomplishments, and they announced the fact to their other companion who again looked at me in breathless surprise. "Where did you get this Fot-sil?" (or plaything), he queried in one breath.
"Farther away than the circumference of your world," was my evasive and, to them, unsatisfactory reply.
"Won't you tell us, child, how far away that is?" asked another with subdued impatience.
"Millions of miles." (Of course I spoke in terms of their linear measurements).
"How many millions?"
"Sometimes five hundred and sometimes six hundred millions."
Without giving them a chance for asking me another question I offered to let them see my home if they would permit me to use the most powerful telescope in their observatory.
My listeners were indeed amazed and were about to pour upon me a volley of interrogations. I assured them that I would answer no more questions until I knew whether my request would be granted.
This necessitated a consultation with the chief astronomer who, upon learning of my peculiar request and of my unnatural formation, hastened to the museum to see the monstrosity.
I knew from what I had previously learned that this gentleman was the greatest living astronomer on Jupiter. He peered at me in the cage and was dumfounded. He exchanged a few sentences with the professor and again turned to me:
"At what time do you want the telescope?" he asked.
"You shall have it, just to satisfy our curiosity," he said as he hastened from the room.
I heard the professor caution him strictly to tell no one of my presence, so as to avoid a rush from the student ranks.
In less than an hour I stood at the side of the largest telescope in our Solar System, watching the deepening shadows of night as they fell upon Jupiter.
I spent another hour examining the ponderous machinery that was required to swing this mammoth instrument and to adjust it when scanning the heavens.
By this time my four companions were convinced that I was not an idiot, and I could see by their strange manner that they were regarding me as a spirit.
I gave my directions to the astronomer, and beheld the cylinder, two-hundred feet in length and twenty feet in diameter, swing around until it pointed toward a little flickering light that shone like a distant star.
I looked into the eye-piece, managed to get the tube pointed accurately, and then requested the astronomer to focus the lenses so as to bear upon the planetary light in range.
He knew at once the planet I had singled out. He called it Zo-ide. After the focusing was completed, I looked and, behold, I could readily discern many of the physical features of my own world.
"That is my homeland," I cried triumphantly. "I live on Zo-ide, or Earth, as we call it."
Of course my listeners were incredulous, but I proceeded to explain to them as I looked through the telescope:
"That dark ridge to the left is called 'the Rocky and Andes Mountain Systems'. The shining belt on the central portion is the 'Mississippi River'. The rough ridge to the right is 'the Allegheny System' of mountains." Then I indicated the location of our larger cities. As I pointed to New York, I saw a mere speck moving. I was convinced that it was one of our large steamships, and as I so explained the astronomer looked at me with absorbing interest.
He informed me that he had often seen the moving of the spots, and thought they were some cloud formations peculiar to our world. But I insisted on the steamship explanation and proceeded to describe an ocean liner, for these Jupiterites are not familiar with oceans of cold water on which float numerous craft.
I was then a royal guest, and passed a most felicitous night with these four celebrities. We talked of the more powerful telescope that the government of Jupiter was manufacturing, and of the still greater views it promised to reveal.
Then I informed them of our system of science. They were astonished at the great civilization extant on Zo-ide, or our Earth.
I told them that a subtile power lay dormant in the atoms and molecules of matter, which could be released and utilized, and that we in our world called it "electricity."
During the night I learned that the convolutions on the chin and forehead of a Jupiterite served the purpose of a new sense. By the aid of these convolutions any person of Jupiter can tell in daylight or darkness the nature of any surrounding substance, whether it be hard or soft, combustible or non-combustible, good for food or not. I confess that I was unable to grasp the idea intelligently. So the people on the Moon had the same difficulty in understanding the use of my nose.
Before morning dawned I informed my appreciative quartette that I would see them no more, that I had paused at Jupiter station long enough, and that I must be off on my vast excursion trip.
They earnestly entreated me to remain so that the college students and representative persons could get a glimpse of me; but I refused all their entreaties. When they found that I had power to leave them instantly, they besought me to remain for a few last words.
"Shall we not see you again?" affectingly asked the astronomer.
I told them that I expected to spend eternity in the kingdom of our God who made all the stars and worlds, and holds each in its respective place. "If you are pure in heart to Him," I continued, "there can be no doubt but that we shall see one another again in that happy celestial center where our eyes will be our telescopes, where our pure hearts will assent to the Fatherhood of God, and where our souls will be quickened at the universal fountain of Love."
A delightfully busy world next met my gaze. Saturn, supreme in love, with its mysterious rings and its eight moons, now held my attention and won my admiration.
This world is almost as large as Jupiter, and its soil is more fertile. The inhabitants resemble us in physical appearance, except that they are twice our size.
Like Jupiter, it is enveloped in thick semi-liquid clouds which are never at rest. This changing atmosphere causes continual friction of particles, and this serves to produce sufficient heat to counteract the frigid blasts that would otherwise freeze out the whole planet. These atmospheric conditions attracted my attention to a great degree. I estimated as best I could, and ascertained that Saturn receives as much heat from this peculiar atmosphere as our Earth receives from the Sun.
As I found it on Jupiter, so I found it here. The human eye is so constructed that it seems to have more than an X-ray power, for it can look through this atmosphere as readily as we can peer through ours.
The air of Saturn, being so thick, contains much natural nourishment, and the inhabitants are sustained largely by breathing. This reminded me of the manner in which our fish flourish in the waters of our globe.
Marvelous indeed are the possibilities of life. I now had before me new problems to solve, for natural laws have but a limited expression in our own world. Here science puts on new garments, but they are all cut in harmony with universal laws.
Woman is the ruling genius of this planet. Being untrammeled for a few thousand years, she has attained a higher glory than her sex has reached in any world of our Solar System.
As you scan the honor rolls of Saturn, reading the list of the eminent leaders in science, art and philosophy, you will readily observe that woman has forged to the front. She also sits upon the principal thrones of temporal power.
Woman's beauty on Saturn is surpassing. It reaches a higher degree of perfection than any of the myriad types of beauty on this enchanting world. When I first opened my eyes on these scenes, I imagined that I had reached Heaven, but, to my chagrin, I soon found the black marks of sin that stain the whole planet.
The illustrious inventors of Saturn, living and dead, make a long list, which is headed by the name of Veorda, a woman of marvelous intellect. She looked into the mysteries of nature with a shrewd, wizard eye, but, unfortunately, lost her life early in a bold experiment with explosives. However, before she reached her much-lamented end, she had won enough honor to outshine all inventors in the whole history of Saturn.
She was the sole inventor of all explosives, and she had learned how to operate them without making any noise or smoke. This proved a valuable aid to factories and quarries, and particularly in the handling of fire arms, of which Saturn has a very strange collection.
Before Veorda was born the flying machine had been invented and used. But aerial travel was soon abandoned owing to some terrible accidents that had occurred. During the earlier part of her career Veorda labored assiduously until she overcame a few difficulties and thereby perfected the flying machine.
It was a day of international rejoicing when her perfected machine sailed over the governments of Saturn. The invention stood every test and at once air traffic was resumed and maintained. When this woman died the governments erected to her memory the finest and costliest monument that now stands on the whole world of Saturn. Of course, I went to see it. As I stood studying the poetry of the pillars, I looked overhead and saw one of the immense aerial ships carrying a pleasure party to a distant point. I cannot describe my feelings as I lingered in the presence of the sleeping dust and saw the imperishable influence of her thoughts still working for her, in a carnal sense, "a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Yet with all this homage paid to Veorda, I cannot believe that she is more illustrious than the present living wizard of our world, the notable Edison.
Veorda lived and died a devoted worshipper of "The Great Influence," or God, and it is delightful to think that we shall associate with such great minds in our eternal abode in that Broader Life where the pure of all spheres gather. Will I do wrong if I quote that sublime beatitude, making it applicable to all worlds? "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
The written language of Saturn resembles the Chinese character language, only it is much more smooth and more complete.
The Shakespeare of that planet is a woman called Ziek-dod who has been dead twelve hundred years. Her writings have been quoted and esteemed as masterpieces all through these ages. Her style is singular, resembling the proverbs of Solomon, with a little more ornament in the language.
As to the subject matter, her epigrammatic sentences are grouped and classified with an accuracy that is both pleasing and popular. At intervals the reader is treated with a sprinkling of alliterative sentences.
Ziek-dod shines as an eternal star among the great names of her world. Like Veorda, she was pure-hearted and possessed fine moral and spiritual qualities. She passed out into that Broader Life where language is sweeter and thoughts are more holy.
In music I noticed the most radical departures. The popular home instrument is larger than our organ and has nearly one hundred keys arranged somewhat like the keyboard of a typewriter.
These keys and their combinations are capable of rendering sounds to correspond with every syllable found in their words. A proper familiarity with these sounds is a part of every child's training on Saturn.
When one plays on this instrument every sound struck on the keys represents a certain vowel-consonant sound. Thus the listener hears the sounds more distinctly than we hear the words of a phonograph.
Under such conditions a musician is capable of interpreting his exact feelings when manipulating the keys. He talks to his listeners with organ sounds. The great poet musicians can breathe out their inspirations in rapturous melodies. On special occasions famous musicians are employed to render original selections. Addresses and lectures are also given in this manner with very pleasing results.
The Saturnites know nothing of the Telephone, Telegraph, or Phonograph. But for carrying messages they have a signal system by which intelligence is flashed from one point to another with great rapidity.
Saturn has eight moons and is surrounded with the rings which have made it famous from the time the planet was first seen through the telescope. These rings and moons are inhabited by a type of human beings altogether different from those that live on the planet, and are distinctly visible to the dwellers of Saturn by means of powerful telescopes.
The human beings on the rings are not able to watch their neighbors in space, having no instruments to carry their vision beyond the boundaries of their own peculiar abodes.
The most picturesque sight of all the Solar System is seen as you stand on Saturn, and watch the rings and the eight moons chasing one another in the heavens above you.
The inhabitants of this beautiful world believe that the soul of each God-adorer at death passes out into the spirit life on the rings where it will continue in a blissful existence until the final judgment.
The religious life of Saturn is officially controlled by men. There are many creeds, each with its own devoted followers. The leading church of this world was not organized until seven thousand years after religious life took a distinctive form. Then a man named Trique, who was a shrewd student of the times, after a careful study of the weaknesses found in existing religious bodies, and after amassing enormous wealth in business, founded a new church on a neat, practical business plan which may thus be briefly described in terms and figures of our own language.
Trique had a fortune of two hundred millions which, by investment, netted him twenty millions annually. These net earnings he used to establish his new denomination. He commenced operations simultaneously at the capitol of each of the four governments of Saturn, and at each place built two magnificent churches, costing one million dollars apiece. It took over three years of our time to build these eight churches. Before one year had expired he had started fifty other churches in the centers of Saturn's population. These churches averaged in cost three hundred thousand dollars each. Thus the plan continued, ever starting new structures until all Saturn was decorated with the churches of Trique, even village edifices costing from ten to twenty-five thousand dollars. So much for the mere outward part of the church which anybody might create if he had recourse to such enormous wealth.
Before Trique commenced any one of his buildings, he canvassed the whole community for charter members of his church. These were composed of two classes, spiritual and connected. This canvassing was done by the finest scholars that Trique could employ. Each one was supposed to be the pastor of the community he canvassed. The conditions of the charter membership were easy to meet. All that was required for connected membership was a good moral life and a lip confession of the faith.
On account of the superior advantages offered by the Trique church it grew steadily from the beginning. I will here append a few characteristics of the organization:
1. The church takes care of all its members during sickness, furnishing a physician and all necessary medicines free of charge. The church owns drug stores and graduates its own physicians.
2. The church has its own salaried undertakers, and defrays all funeral expenses.
3. The church supplies a moral and spiritual education to all the children of its members. This school does a work similar to our Sunday-school, only it is held daily and is under a trained corps of paid teachers.
For all these advantages each member is required to give to the church one-eleventh of his earnings and to attend the services of the church and co-operate with the pastor in the advancement of all spiritual work.
The church keeps a perpetual record of the attendance and the work done by each member.
It required a man of large business capacity to launch such a church with its radically new principles. But Trique's immense wealth was a powerful force when utilized in this manner. He made every church a strong business center commanding the respect of the whole community. Discipline was rigidly enforced. No member cared to be expelled from such a church. It meant a going out from under a warm cover at the approach of winter.
Fortunately, Trique was a clean, spiritual man and strongly urged a spiritual ministry and membership.
It can be seen why this church grew so rapidly. In fifty years it became so powerful that it could control, if it wished, the legislation in nearly all the sections of the planet.
I have given but a brief picture of this ruling church. It must suffice. I may add that one must not imagine the church services and forms in Saturn to be like our worship. All things are so different that it would take much space and time to describe them.
For beauty of natural scenery, Saturn surpasses all the Solar System. Its air is of a different composition from ours, and its sky puts on various tints as the day passes, which is a little over ten hours of our time, but it takes nearly thirty of our years to make one on Saturn.
The immense mountain ranges present a picture of unusual beauty. The leaves of trees are rich in velvety varieties and the undergrowth appears as if trimmed by skilled hands. This is a desirable place to live. But I learned that the inhabitants of Saturn do not appreciate all this wealth of beauty, in its atmosphere or on its earth, a whit more than the people of our world appreciate the sin cursed scenery which greets their eyes.
The Nearest Fixed Star.
All that was required on my part was a mere act of the mind, and I went where I wished. I visited Uranus and Neptune, after which I stretched my swift wings for the great flight, away from our Solar System, over billions of miles of space. I alighted on the burning star nearest to our Earth. This star is called, by our astronomers, Alpha Centaurus, and it is said to be 20,000,000,000,000 miles away. This star is much greater than our Sun and is the center of a system of worlds larger and more numerous than those that compose our Solar System.
You cannot imagine my surprise when I reached Alpha Centaurus and found that it was inhabited by a class of human creatures who were created to live and flourish in fire. Their customs and habits are so strange that I am not capable of giving an intelligent description of them. I know that it is inconceivable to us how life can be developed and sustained in the midst of a burning sun, and I found that these beings in turn could not conceive how life can exist in a cold world like ours.
These creatures have no digestive organs. They live, in part, on the chemical action produced by fire breathing. The hotter the fire, the more easily is life sustained. If they were to get away from the heat, this chemical action would cease and therefore death would be as certain to them as being enveloped in fire would spell death to us.
In our eyes, their bodies are misshapen, composed of elements most of which are not found in our world. There are many cold places, or sun spots, on Alpha Centaurus, but these are shunned by the people as death traps. However, the centers of population gather on the more solid sections, most of which lie around the sun spots.
You could scarcely believe your eyes were you to look upon the durable works of architecture built by these strangely shaped mortals.
Still more wonderful are the seas of boiling fire which are sometimes comparatively quiet, and then again, in all madness, their majestic flames shoot upward thousands of miles.
When the sea is quiet, life is oppressive in the centers of population just as it is in our world when the air is still and the summer sun is pouring down upon us. Breathing is easier and life is quickened when the molten sea boils furiously. These terrible heat blasts are most exhilarating and refreshing to the inhabitants living near enough to receive the benefit of them.
You may imagine that these people of Alpha Centaurus are idlers, being fed by the ceaseless heat waves that beat upon them. Such a conception is totally false, for I saw that industry was plainly evident, and labor had its reward in securing the necessaries and luxuries of life.
These life-sustaining foods are composed of elements which can be appropriated into muscle and bone (if you will permit me to use these terms), and are obtained by reuniting and re-combining spent forces. This explanation is somewhat mystical, but I can do no better in describing the food production and assimilation in a pure fire-world like this one on which I had arrived.
To imagine and believe that fertility can be possible in a seething world-furnace, is too far beyond our philosophy to be conceivable. Alpha Centaurus is so large a sun that although it has a population ten times greater than our globe, yet its surface is sparsely settled.
The oceans of fire occupy the greater part of the surface of this wonderful sphere. In these great red-hot seas live the monsters of the deep, as well as a motley variety of other species, veritable salamanders, some grotesquely hideous, others surpassingly beautiful in form and hue.
On this sphere man is extraordinarily intelligent. He is almost totally ignorant of anything akin to astronomy, although some of the greater scholars have ventured the theory that there might be other worlds containing human life, providing there be fire enough to sustain them.
In some other particulars, these star-creatures have made astonishing progress. They believe that the time is coming when the fires of their world will be blown out and all life become extinct. This they would call, in our language, the coming Judgment when every human being that ever lived will receive his just recompense of reward.
With interest I studied the manner of government, and the admirable system of education which is the secret of their progress.
I made a special effort to ascertain whence this sun receives its continued supply of fuel. The question had often perplexed my mind when I gazed toward our Sun from the shores of our world. None of the theories advanced by our scientists and astronomers fully satisfied my mind. And now I looked and studied in vain. Although the awful burnings had been in progress for thousands of years, I could see no fuel that was added to the flames. Hence I was driven to believe that Alpha Centaurus was on fire and was gradually being consumed; this must be true of all the stars that bedeck the canopy of Heaven.
The inconstancy of this star's surface is the greatest menace to its inhabitants. At times the solid crusts break in the contracting of the surface. All this makes terrible havoc, but the new generations take fresh courage and pluckily restore the fallen habitations.
One of the luxuries enjoyed by these fire beings at certain times is to get where the chemical action of heat is at a low ebb. That has a similar effect upon them as calming our nerves has upon us.
One of the great inventions consists in an instrument that neutralizes this chemical action of heat even where it is most intense. It is a common sight to see creatures basking under one of these instruments in a somewhat comatose state. The inventor of this instrument is worshiped almost as a god.
One of the most startling inventions of all is a machine that counteracts gravity. This, to my mind, is the greatest invention I had yet seen, and, strange to say, these fire creatures know nothing about means of propulsion except by hand power. If you were able to stand on the seething furnace of Alpha Centaurus, you would see these machines rise far into the shooting fire and beyond, as far as occupants can go without freezing to death. Then at a reverse of the lever you would see the mysterious car descend.
These star residents have enjoyed this invention so long that they no longer appreciate its marvels. You ask me if I tried to get the secret. I saw the whole apparatus and the more I studied it, the more I was convinced that its storage battery contained heat energy. So I concluded to solve the mystery. I learned that there was a certain element found only in combination. When this element is set loose by chemical process, it will rise at once toward a large planet that revolves around this sun. This planet draws that particular element with six times more force than it is held by Alpha Centaurus. The brilliant chemists, when they first made this discovery, separated enough of this element to carry a man upward from the sun's surface. Later on they made a counter discovery of equal value.
They found a substance that would destroy this attraction if it was placed between the element and the planet. The discovery enabled a person to rise as high as he wished and then, by swinging the plate in position, the aerial carriage would either stand still or descend according to the wish of the operator.
What a boon it would be to our world if we had such an element for which Jupiter or the Sun would have so much fondness! Then with our superior knowledge of propulsion we could forever settle the perplexing problem of aerial navigation.
These exceptional people, living in such terrible fire, wear pieces of garments made of the finest texture. The hair-like threads are composed of metallic substances far more enduring than gold or platinum.
Of all the unthinkable things on this star none are so extreme as the manner in which these people hold conversation. They have no organs to produce vocal sounds.
They convey their ideas one to another by a vibration of the conversation flaps. Either the air waves, or substantial emissions, excite the sensitive face of the listener so that the thought intended can be accurately received.
Having a strong curiosity, I remained and studied this fire life. It opened to me new channels of thought and illustrated more emphatically than ever that all things are possible with Him who created the universe and upholds it by the word of His power.