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The herald. [microfilm reel] (Los Angeles [Calif.]) 1893-1900, February 06, 1898, Image 22

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Copyright, 1898, by Garrett P. Serviss.
, I
It Is Impossible thai the stupendous
events which followed the disastrous
invasion of the earth by the Martians
should go without record, and circum
stances having placed the facta at my
disposal, I deem it a duty, both to pos
terity and to those who wore witnesses
of and participants In the avenging
counterstroke that the earth dealt back
atiits ruthless enemy in the heavens,
to write down the story in a connected
The Martians had nearly all perished,
not ■ through our puny efforts, but in
consequence of disease, nnd the few j
su/rvivors lied in one of their projectile
cars, inflicting their crudest blow in
the act of departure.
They "possessed a mysterious explo
sive, of unimaginable puissance, with
whose aid they set their car in motion
for Mars from a point in Bergen coun
ty, N. J., just back of the Palisades.
The force of the explosion may be
Imagined when it is recollected that 1
they had to give the car a velocity of
more than seven miles per second In
order to overcome the attraction of the
earth and'the resistance of the r.tmo- '
sphere. ]
The shock destroyed all of New York
that had.not already fallen a prey, r.r 1 1
all the buildings yet standing in the 1
surrounding towns and cities fell in one (
far-circling ruin.
The Palisades tumbled In vast sheets, 1
starting a tidal wave In the Hudson 1
that drowned the opposite shore.
The victims of this ferocious ex- ■
plosions were numbered by tens of ]
thousands, and the shock, transmit;
through the rocky frame of the globe, :
was recorded by seismogrnphie pendu- '
lums in England and on the Continent
of Europe.
The terrible results achieved by the 1
Invaders had produced everywhere a '
mingled feeling of consternation and v
hopelessness. Tha devastation was '
widespread. Tlie death-dealing en- T
gines which the Martians had brought '
with them had proved irresistible and '
the inhabitants of the earth possessed (
nothing capable of contending against F
them. There had been no protection '
for the great cities: no protection '
even for the open country. Everything 1
had gone down before the savage on- 1
slaught of those merciless Invaders
from space. Savage ruins covered the J
Bites of many formerly flourishing 1
towns and villages nnd the broken p
nails of great cities stared at the !
heavens like the exhumed skeleton P
of Pompeii. The awful agencies had
extirpated pastures an 1 meadows r
and dried up the very springs of fer- s
tlHty in the earth where they had a
touched It. In some parts of the de. a
vastated lands pestilence broke out; &
elsewhere there was famine. Dospon-[t
deney, black as night, brooded over o
some of the fairest portions of the a
Yet all had not been destroyed, he. r
cause all had not been reached by the d
.withering hand of the destroyer. The n
Martians had not had time to complete a
their work before they themselves fell C
a prey to diseases that carried them 1
off at the very culmination of their i
triumph. 1
From those lands which had. fortun- <
ately. escaped invasion, relief was sent I
to the sufferers. The outburst of 1
pity and of charity exceeded anything 1
that the world had known. Differences 1
of race nnd of religion were swallowed t
up in the universal sympathy which C
was felt for those who had suffered so t
terribly from an evil that was as tin- n
expected as it was unimaginable in its i,
But the worst was not yet. More v
dreadful that the actual Buffering and
the scenes of death and devastation s
wfhieh overspread the afflicted lands ll
was-the profound mental and moral n
depression that followed. This was li
6hared even by those who had not seen f
the Martians and had not witnessed c
the destructive effects of tlie frightful r
engines of war that they had imported n
for the conquest of the earth. All man- t
kind was sunk deep In this universal li
despair, and it became tenfold blacker r
when the astronomers announced from n
their observatories that strange light.- c
were visible, moving and flashing upon t
the red surface of the Planet of War, l<
These mysterious appearances could s
only be interpreted in the light of past t
experience to mean that (he Martians
were preparing for another invasion of 1<
the earth, and who could doubt that b
with the invincible powers of destruc- b
tlon at their command they would this a
time nokvke their work complete and a
final? o
This startling announcement was c
the more pitiable In its effects because s
|t served to unnerve and discourage d
those few of stouter hearts and mora r
hopeful teni)» laments who had already v
begun the labor of restoration and re- v
construction amid the embers of their s
desolated homes. In New York this p
feeling of hope and confidence, -this de- n
termination to rise against disaster /
and to wipe out the evidences of its w
dreadful presence as quickly as possi- s
ble, had especially manifested itself, c
Already a company hnd been formed o
and a large amount of capital sub- h
scribed for the reconstruction of the a
destroyed bridges over the East river. 1
Already architects were busily at work
planning new twenty-story hotels o
and apartment houses; new churches li
and new cathedrals on a grander scale i
than before. Amid this stir of re- c
newed life canio the fatal news that s
Mars was undoubtedly preparing to i
deal us a death blow. The sudden t
revulsion of feeling flitted like the a
shadow of an eclipse over the earth, t
The scenes that followed were bade- 1
ecribable. Men lost their reason. The t
faint-hearted ended 'the suspense with t
•elf-destruction, - the stout-hearted re
Garrett P.Serviss
mainod steadfast, but without hope
ami knowing not what to do.
Hut there was a steam of hope of
which the general public as yet knew
nothing. It was due ito a few daunt
less men of science, conspicuous among
whom were Lird Kelvin, the great
English savant; Herr Roentgen, the
discoverer of the famous X ray; and
especially Thomas A. Kdison, the
American genius of science. These
men and a few others had examined
wit* the utmost care the engines of
war, the flying machines, the genera
tors of mysterious destructive forces
hat the Martians had produced, with
he object of discovering, if possible
he sources of their power.
Suddenly from Mr. Edison's labora
ory at Orange Hashed the startling In
exigence that he had not only dlacov
red the manner in which the invaders
ad been able to produce the mights
nergles which they employed with
uch terrible effect, but that, going
urther. he had found a way to over-'
ome them.
The glad news was quickly circulated
OTOUghOUt the civilized world. Luck
y the Atlantic cables had not been
estroyed by the Martians so that com
munication between the Eastern and
restern continents was uninterrupted
was a proud day f r America. Even
hiie the Martians had been upon the
irth. carrying everything before them
amonstrating to the confusion of the
iost optimistic that there was no pos
bility of standing against them, a
•cling—a confidence had manifested
self in France, to a minor extent In
ngiand. and particularly In Russia,
tat the American might discover
cans to. meet and master the in
Xow. It seemed, this hope and ex
station were to be realised, Too
te, it is true, to a certain sense, but
X too late to meet the new invasion
hieh the astronomers had announced
as impending. Tlie effect was as
onderful and Indescribable as that of
ie despondency which but a little
hile before had overspread the world,
ne could almost hear the universal
gh of relief which went up from hu
anity. To relief succeeded confi
•nce—so quickly does the human spirit
-cover like an elastic spring, when
ressure is released.
"Let them come." was the almost
yous cry. "We shall be ready for
em now. Th? Americans have
Ived the problem. Edison has placed
c means of victory within our
Looking back upon that time now. I
call, with a thrill, the pride that
Irred me at the thought that, after
I. the inhabitants of the earth were
match for those terrible men from
ars, despite all the advantage which
ey had gained from their millions
years of prior civilization and
As good fortur.es, like bad. never
►me singly, the news of Mr. Edison's
scoyery was quickly followed by i
iditional glad tidings from that labor- 1
ory of marvels in the lap of the
range mountains. During their con
test the Martians had astonished the
habitants of the earth no less with
icir Hying machines—which navigated
IT atmosphere as easily as they hal
iat of their native planet—than with
icir more destructive inventions
base flying machines in themselves
id given them an enormous advan
ce in the contest. Hieh above th.
•solation that they had caused tf
■ign on the surface of the earth
id, out of the range of our guns, thej
id hung safe in the upper air. Fron
ie clouds they had dropped deatt
jon the earth.
Xow, rumor declared that Mr. Edi
91 had invented and perfected a fly
g machine much more complete ant
anageable than that of the Martian:
id been. Wonderful stories qulcklj
•und their way into the newspaper:
incoming what Mr. Edison had al
ady accomplished with tho aid of hi:
odoi electrical balloon. His labors
ry was carefully guarded against tic
vasion of the curious, because hi
ghtly felt that a premature announce
ent. which should promise mor.. thai
•uld be actually fulfilled, would, a
is critical Juncture, plunge man
nd back again into the gulf of do
>uir, out of which it had begun
Nevertheless, inklings of tho truth
aked out. The flying machine had
•en seen by many persons hovering
r '.light high above the Orange hills
id disappearing in the faint starlight
iif it had gone away into the depths
space, out of which it would ro
aerge before the morning light had
peaked the east, and be soon settling
iwn again within the walls that sur
unded the laboratory of tho great in
mtor. At length the rumor grad
i!ly deepening into a conviction,
•read that Edison himself, nccom
ini> d by a few Scientific friends, had
ado an experimental trip to the moon
t n time when the spirit of mankind
as loss profoundly stirred, such a
ory would have boon 7-eooived with
mplcto incredulity, but now, rising
i the wings of the now hope that was
toying up the earth, this extraiordin
•y rumor became a day star of truth
the nation*.
And it was true. I had myself boon
ie of the occupants of tho car of
,-ing Ship of Space on that night when
silently lefl the earth, and rising
it of the great shadow of the globe,
ted on to the moon. Wo had landed
ion the scarred and desolate face of
io earth's satellite, and but that there
■c greater and more Interesting events
ie telling of which must not be do
yed, I should undertake to describe
ie particulars or this first visit of men
• another world.
this was only an experimental trip.
By visiting this little near-by island
in the ocean space, Mr. Edison simply
wished to demonstrate t practica
bility of his invention, and to convince,
Brat of all. himself and his scientific
friends that it was possible for men
mortal men—to quit and to revisit the
earth at their will. That aim this
experimental trip triumphantly at
It would carry me Into " -
tails that would hardly interest the
reader, to describe the mechanism of
Mr. Edison'■ Hying machine. Eel it
suffice to say that it depended upon
the principle of electrical attraction
nnd repulsion, By mesas of a most
ingenious and complicated construc
tion he had mastered the problem of
how to produce, in a limited space,
electricity of any desired potential and
Of any polarity, and that witlrout (San
ger to the experimenter or to the
material experimented upon. It is
gravitation, as everybody knows, that
makes man a prisoner on the earth. If
he could overcome, or neutralize, grav
itation he could float away, a free
creature of interstellar space. Mr. Edi
son in his invention had pitted elec
tricity against gravitation. Nature,
in fact, had done the same thing long
before. Every astronomer knew it.
but none hnd been able to imitate ot
to reproduce this miracle of nature.
When a comet approaches the sun. the
orbit in which It travels Indicates that
it is moving under the impulse of the
sun's gravitation. It is in reality fall
ing in a great parabolic or elliptical
curve through space. Put while a
comet approaches the sun it begins to
display—stretching out for millions,
and sometimes hundreds of millions of
miles on the side away from the sun
—an immense luminous train called its
tall. This train extends back into that
part of space from which the comet is
moving. Thus the sun at one and the
same time is drawing the comet toward
itself and driving off from the comet
in an opposite direction minute parti-
I dcs or atoms which, instead of obey-1
j ing the gravitational force, are plainly i
gy" 1 That (I this en " v ' I
: its own gravitation, is electrical in its
' nature, hardly anybody will doubt. The
, h id of the comet being comparatively
! heavy and massive, falls on toward 1
| the sun. despite the electrical repul
i sion. But tho atoms which form the
jtail. being almost without weight, yield
jto the electrical rather than to the
i gravitational influence and so fly away
I from the sun.
Now, wh.it Mr. Edison had done was.
in effect, to create an electrical particle
which might be compared to one of the
atoms composing the tail of a comet,
although in reality it was a kind of car,
of metal, weighing some hundreds of
pounds and capable of bearing some
thousands of pounds with it in its
flight. By producing, with the aid of I
the electrical generator contained in
this car, an enormous charge of elec
tricity, Mr. Edison was able to coun
terbalance, and a trifle more than
I counterbalance, the attraction of the l
earth, and thus cause the car to fly'
off from the earth as an electrified
pithball Hies from the prime con
As we sat in the brilliantly lighted
chamber that formed the Interior of the
car. and where stores of Compressed
air had been provided together with
chemical apparatus, by : leans of which
fresh supplies of oxygen and nitrogen
might be obtained for our consump
tion during the flight through space.
Mr. Edison touched a pollened hutton
thus causing tho generation of the re
quired electrical charge on the ex
terior of tic- car, and immediately we
began to rise.
The moment and direction of out
flight had b en so timed and prear
ranged, that the original impulse
would carry us straight toward the
When we fell within tho sphere of
attraction of that orb it only became
necessary to BO manipulate the elec
trical charge upon our car as nearly,
but not quite, to'counterbalance the
effect of the moon's attraction in ordet
that we might gradually approach It
and with an easy motion, settle, with
out shock upon its surface.
YVe did not remain to examine the
wonders of the moon, although we
could not fail to observe many curious
things therein. Having demonstrated
the fact that we could not only leave
the earth, but could journey through
space and safely land upon the surface
of another planet, Mr. Edison's imme
diate purpose was fulfilled, and we
hastened back to the earth, employing
In leaving the moon and in landing
again upon our own planet the same
means of control over the electrical at
traction and repulsion between the
respective planets and our car which
I have already described.
When actual experiment bad thus
demonstrated the practicality of the
Invention, Mr. Edison no longer with
held the news of what he had been
doing from the world. The telegraph
lines and the ocean cables labored with
the messages that in endless succes
| slon, and burdened with an Infinity of
detail, were sent all over the earth.
Everywhere the utmost enthusiasm
was a:roused.
"Let the Martians come." was the
cry. "If necessary we can quit the
earth as the Athenians fled from
Athens before the advancing hosts of
Xerxes, and like them, take refuge
U)K>n our ships—these new ships of
space, with which American inventive
ness has furnished us."
And then, like a Hash, some genius
struck out on idea that tired the world.
•'Why should we wait. Why should
we run the risk of having our cities de
stroyed and our lands desolated a
| second time? Let us go to Mars. We
; have the means. Let us beard the
| lion in his den. Let us ourselves turn
'conquerors and take possession of that
detestable planet, ana If necessary, de
jstroy In order to relieve the earth of
i this perpetual threat which now hangs
j over us like tlie sword of Damo
cles." •
This enthusiasm would have had but
little justification had Mr. Edison done
nothing more than Invent a machine
which could navigate the atmosphere
and the regions of interplanetary
He had. however, and this fact was
generally known, although the details
had not yet leaked out—invented also
machines of war intended to meet the
utmost that the Martians could do for
either offence or defence it: the strug
gle which was now about to ensue.
It almost makes me smile when I
recall the apparent simplicity, the ex
ceeding comj«ctness, the absurd little-
Vlr. Edison's Immediate Purpose Was Fulfilled and We
Hastened Back to the Earth.
I nese of the engine by whose aid Mr.
Bdlson was about to undertake the
conquest of another world. But in art,
las in nature, size dor s not, by any
means, count for everything. It was
the principle involved that gave to Mr.
Edison's invention Its marvelous ef
i Acting upon the hint wh oh had boon
conveyed from various investigations
in the domain of physics, and concen
trating upon the problem all those un
matched powers of intellect which dis
tinguished him, the great inventor
ha 1 sue,' led in producing a little im
plement which one could carry in his
hand, but which was more powerful
than any battleship that ever floated.
The details of its mechanism could not
be easily explained without the use of
tedious technicalities and the employ
ment of terms, diagrams and mathe
matical statements, all of which would
lie outside the scope of this narrutive.
Hut the principle of the thing was sim
ple enough, it was upon the great
scientific doctrine which we have since
Be v so completely and brilliantly de
veloped, of the law of harmonic vibra
tions, extending from atoms and mole
culee at one end of the series up to
worlds and suns at the other end, that
, Mr. Edison based his invention.
Every kind of substance has Its own
Vibratory rhythm. That of iron differs
from that of pine wood. 'i<iio atoms of
gold do not vibrate In the sarnie time
or through tlie same range as those of
lead, and so on for all known sub
stances, and all the chemical elements.
80, on a larger scale, every massive
body has its period of vibration. A
great suspension bridge vibrates, under
the impulse of forces that are applied
to It. in iong periods. No company of
soldiers ever crosses such a bridge
without breaking step. If they tramped
together, and were followed by other
companies keeping the same time with
their feet, after a while the vibrations
of the bridge would become so great
and destructive that it would fall ln
pieces. So any structure, ■' Its vibra
tion rate is known, could easily be de
stroyed by a force applied to it in suoh
a way that It should simply increase
the swing of those vibrations up to the
point of destruction.
Now Mr. Edison had been able to as
certain the vibratory awing of many
well-known substances, and to produce,
by means of the Instrument which he
had contrived, pulsations in the ether
which were completely under his con
tro), and which could not he made lone
W short, quick or slow, at his will. He
xnild run through the whole gamut
from the slow vibrations of ound In
»ir up to the four hundred and twenty-
Ive millions of millions of vibrations
per second of the ultra red rays.
Having obtained an instrument of
such power, it only remained to con
centrate its enerp"' upon a given object
in order that the atoms composing that
object should be set into violent undu
lation sufficient to burst it asunder and
to scatter Ms molecules broadcast. This
the inventor effected by the simplest
means in the world—simply a parabolic
reflector by which the destructive
waves could be sent like a beam of
light, but invisible, in any direction
and focused upon any desired point.
I had the good fortune to be present
when this powerful engine of destruc
tion was submitted to its first test. W<
hnd gone upon the roof of Mr. Mdlson'f
laboratory and the inventor held the
little instrument, with I'; attached
mirror, in his hand. "We looked about
for some object on which to try its
powers. On the bare limb of a tree
not far away, for it was late in the
fall, sat a disconsolate crow.
"Good," said Mr. Edison, " that will
do." He touched a button at the side
of the instrument and a soft, whirring
noise was heard.
"Feathers," said Mr. Edison, "have a
vibration period of three hundred and
eighty-six million per fecond."
He adjusted an index as he spoke.
Then, thr< ugh a sighting tube, he
aimed at the bird.
"Now watch," he said.
Another soft whirr in the Instrument,
a momentary flash of light close around
it, and, behold, the crow had turned
from black to white!
"its feathers are gone," said the in
ventor; "they have been dissipated
into their constituent atoms. Now,
we will finish with the err- "
Instantly there was another adjust
ment of the index, another outshoot
ing of vibratory force, a rapid up and
down motion of the index to include a
certain range of vibrations, and the
crow itself was gone—vanished in
empty space! There was the bare twig
on which a moment before it had stood.
Behind, in the sky. was the white cloud
against which its black form had been
sharply outlined, but th- re was no more
"That looks bad for the Martians,
doesn't it?" said the wizard. "I have
ascertained the vibration rate ot all
tin materials of which their war en
gines whose remains we have collected
together are composed. They can be
shattered into nothingness in the frac
tion of a second. Even if the vibration
period were not known, it could quick
be hit upon by simply running through
the gamut."
"Hurrah!" cried one of the onlookers.
"We have met the Martians and they
are ours."
"Not quite so fast," said Mr. Edison.
"We must give a little thought to that.
Possibly we may find a way to over
come all of their inventions, and to a
greater or less extent turn tho enemies'
guns against themselves. But at pres
ent let us he satisfied with what we
have actually got."
Such in brief was the first of the
contrivances which Mr. Edison in
vented for the approaching war with
M Almost impressive public exhibition
of the powers of ihe little disintegra
tor wus given amid the ruins of New
York On lower Broadway a part of
the walls of one of the gigantic build
ings which had been destroyed by the
Martians, impended ln such a manner
that it threatened at any moment to
fall upon the heads of the passers-by.
The Fire Department did not dare to
touch it. To hlow it up seemed a dan
gerous expedient, because already new
buildings had been erected ln Its neigh
borhood, and their safety would be Im
perilled by the flying fragments. The
fact happened to come to my
knowledge. _ .
"Here is an opportunity." I wid to
Mr. Edison, "to try the powers of your
machine on a large scalr."
"Capital!" he instantly replied. 1
shall go at once."
For the work now in band it was
necessary to employ a battery of dis
integrators, since tihe field of destruc
tion covered by each was comparative
ly limited. All of the Impending por
tions of the wall must bo destroyed at
>nee and together, for otherwise the
Innger would rather be accentuated
ihon annihilated. The disintegrators
vere placed upon the roof of a neigh
wring building, so adjusted that their
lelds of destruction overlnpj>ed one
another upon the wall. Their Indexes
wore nil set to correspond with the vi
bration period of tho peculiar kind of
brick of which the wall consisted. Then
the energy was turned on, and a shout
of wonder arose from the multitudes
which had assembled ot a safe distance
to witness the experiment.
The wall did not fall; It did not break
asunder: no fragments shot this way
and that and high in the air; there
wus no explosion; no shock or noise
disturbed the still atmosphere—only a
soft whirr, that seemed to pervade
everything and to tingle in the nerves
of the spectators; and—what had been
was not! The wall was gone! but high
above and nil around the place where
it hnd hung over the street with Its
threat of death there appeared, swift
ly billow ing outward in every direction,
a faint, bluish cloud. It was the
Scattered atoms of the destroyed wall.
No further demonstration was need
ed. The enthusiasm that had been ex
cited by the success of the airships was
fairly cast into the shade by the out
bursts of joyous anticipations which
greeted 'the success of Mr. Edlsor.'s in
vention for the destruction of the
And now the cry "On to Mars!" was
heard from nil sides. Dut for such nn
enterprise funds were needed—millions
upon millions. Yet some of the fair
est and richest portions of the earth
had been imiwerished by the frightful
ravages of those enemies who had
dropped down upon them from the
skies. Still, the money must be had.
The salvation of the planet, ns every
body was now convinced, depended
upon the successful negotiation ot a
gigantic war fund, in comparison with
which all the expenditures in all the
wars that had been waged by the na
tions for 2,01*1 years would bo Insignifi
cant. The electrical ships and the vi
bration engines must be constructed by
scores and thousands. Only Mr. Edi
son's imr ense resources and unrivalled
equipment had enabled him to make
the models whose powers had been so
satisfactorily shown. Rut to multi
ply those upon a war scale was not
only beyond tho resources of any indi
vidual—hardly a nation on the globe
in the period of Its greatest prosperity
could have undertaken such a work.
All the nations, then, must now con
join. They must unite their resources,
and. if necessary, exhaust all their
hoards, in order to raise the needed
Negotiations were at once begun.
The United States naturally took the
lead, and their leadership was never
for a moment questioned abroad.
Washington was selected as the place
of meeting for a great congress of the
nations. Washington. luckily, had
had been one of the places which had
not been touched by the Martians. Hut
if Washington had been a city com
posed of hotels alone, and every hotel
SO great as to be a little city in itself,
it would hnve been utterly insufficient
for the accommodation of the innumer
able throngs v.hlch now flocked to the
banks of the Potomac. Put when was
American enterprise "loqual to a
crisis? The necessary hotels, lodging
houses and restaurants were construct
ed with astounding rapidity. One
could see the city growing and expand
ing day by day and week after week.
It flowed over Georgetown Heights; It'
leaped the Potomac; it spread east and
west, south and north; square mile
after square mile of territory was
burled under the advancing buildings,
until the gigantic city which had thus
grown up like a mushroom in a night,
was fully capable of accommodating all
its expected guests.
At first it had not boon intended that
the heads of the various governments
should in person attend the universal
congress, but us the enterprise went
on, as the enthusiasm spread, as the
necessity for haste became more ap
parent through the warning notes
which were constantly sounded from
the observatories where the astrono
mers were nightly beholding new evi
dences of threatening preparations in
Mars, the kings and queens of the old
world felt that they could not remain
at home; that their proper place was
at the new focus and centre of the
whole world—the city of Washington.
Without concerted action, without in
terchange of suggestion, this impulse
seemed to seize all tho old world mon
archs at once. Suddenly cablegrams
flashed to the Government at Washing
ton, announcing that Queen Victoria,
the Emperor William, the Czar Nich
olas, Alphonso of Spain, with his moth
er, Maria Christina; the old Emperor
Francis Joseph and the Empress Elis
abeth, of Austria; King Oscar and
Queen Sophia, of Sweden and Norway;
King Humbert and Queen Margiherita,
of Italy; King Oeorge and Queen
Oiga, of Greece; Abdul Hamid, of Tur
key;' Tsalt'ien, Emperor of China;
Mutsuhito, the Japanese Mikado, with
his beautiful Princess Harako; the
President of France, the President of
Switzerland, the First Syndic of the
little republic of Andorra, perched on
the crest of the Pyrenees, and the heads
of all the Central and South American
republics, were coming to Washington
to take part In the deliberations, which,
It was felt, were to settle the fate of
the earth and of Mars.
One day after this announcement
had been received, and the additional
news had come that nearly all the
visiting monarchs had set out, attended
by brilliant suites and convoyed by
fleets of warships for their destination,
some coming across the Atlantic to the
port of New York, others across the
Pacific to San tranclßco. Mr. Edison
said to me:
"This will be a fine spectacle. Would
you like to watch it?"
"Certainly." I n piled.
The Ship of Space was immediately
at our disposal. think I have not yet
mentioned the fact that the inventor's
control over the electrical generator
carried in the car was so perfect that
by varying the potential or changing
the polarity he could cause it slow
ly or swiftly, as might be desired, to
approach or recede from any object
The only practical difficulty was pre l
sented when the polarity of the elec
trical charge upon an object in the
neighborhood of the car was unknown
to those in the car, and happened to be
opposite to that of the changes which
the car, at that particular moment, was
hearing. In such a case, of course, the
car would fly toward the object, what
ever it might be. like a pith ball or a
feather, attracted to the knob ,of an
c ectricai machine. In this way. con
siderable danger was occasionally en
countered, and a few accidents could
not be avoided. Fortunately, however
such cases were rare. U was only now
and then that, owing to some ,ocal
cause, electrical polarities
or unexpected by the navigators, en
dangered the safety of the car. As I
shall have occasion to relate, however
In the course of the narrative, this danl
ger became more acute and assumed at
times a. most formidable phase, when
we had-ventured outside the sphere of
the earth and were moving through the
unexplored regions beyond.
On this occasion, having embarked
we rose rapidly to a height of some*
thousands of feet and directed our
coins,, over the Atlantic. When halt
way to Ireland, we beheld, In tiro dls
tone*, steaming westward, the smoke
of several fleets. As we drew nearer
a marvellous spectacle unfolded Itself
to our eyes. From the northeast, their
great guns flashing in the sunlight and
their huge funnels belching black vol
umes that rested like thunder clouds
upon the sea, came the mighty war
ships of England, with her meteor flag
Streaming red in the breeze, while the
royal insignia, indicating the presence
of the ruler of the British Rmplre, was
conspicuously displayed upon the flag
ship of the squadron.
Following a course more directly
westward, appeared. xlnaor anoth „
black cloud of smoke, the hulls and
guns and burgeons of another great
fleet, carrying the trl-color ot France
nnd bearing in its midst the head of
tho magnificent republic of western
Further south, beating up against
th« northerly winds, camo a third fleet
with the gold nnd red of Spain flutter
ing from its masthead. This, too, was
carrying Its King westward, where
now, indeed, the star of empire had
taken its way.
Rising a little higher, so as to ex
tend our horizon, we saw coming down
the English channel, l>ehlnd the British
fleet, the black ships of Russia Side
by side, or following one another's lead,
these war fleets were on a peaceful
voyage that belied their threatening
appearance. There had been no thought
lOf danger to or from the forts and ports
of rival nations which they had passed.
There was no enmity, nnd no fear be
tween them when the throats of their
ponderous guns yawned at one another
across the waves. They were now. ln
spirit, all one fleet, having one object.
l>earlng against one enemy, ready to
defend but one country, and that coun
try was the entire earth.
It was some time l>efore we caught
sight of the Emperor Willam's fleet. It
seems that the Kaiser, although at
first consenting to the arrangement by
Which Washington had l>een selected
as the assembling place for the na
tions, afterward obpooted to It.
"I ought to do this thing myself," he
had said. "My glorious ancestors
would never have consented to allow
these upstart Republicans to lead In a
warlike enterprise of this kind. What
would my grandfather have said to It?
I suspect that it Is some scheme aimed
at the divine rights of kings."
Rut the good sense of the German
people would not suffer their ruler to
place them in a position so fhlse and
so untenable. And swept along by
their enthusiasm the Kaiser hnd at last
consented to embark on bis flagship
at Kiel, and now he was following the
other fleets cm th< ,r great mission to
the Western Continent.
Why did they bring their warships
when their intentions wer* peaceable,
do you ask? Well. It —as partly the
effect of ancient habit, and partly due
to the fact that such multitudes of offi
cials and members of ruling families
Wished to embark for Washington
that the ordinary means of ocean com
munication would have been utterly
adequate to convey them.
After we had feasted our eyes on this
strange Bight. Mr. Edison suddenly ex
claimed: "Now let us sec the fellows
from the risin.T sun."
The car was immediately directed to
ward the west. We rapidly approached
the American coast, and as we sailed
over the Alleghany mountains and the
broad plains of the Ohio and the Mis
sissippi, we saw crawling beneath us
from the west, south and north, an
endless succession of railway trains
bearing their multitudes to Washing
ton. With marvellous speed we rushed
westward, rising high to skim over the
snow-topped peaks of the Rocky
Mountains and then the glittering rim
of the Pacific was before us. Half way
between the American coast and Ha
waii we met the fleets coming from
China and Japan. Side by side they
were ploughing the main, having for
gotten, or laid aside, all the animosities
of their former wars.
I well remember how my heart was
stirred at this impressive exhibition of
the boundless Influence which my coun
try had come to exercise over all the
people of the world, and I turned to
look at the man to whose genius this
uprising of the earth was due. But Mr.
Edison, after his wont, appeared to
tally unconscious of the fact that he
was personally responsible for what
was going on. His mind, seemingly,
was entirely absorbed in considering
problems, the solution of which might
be essential to our success in the ter
rific struggle which was soon to begin
"Well, have you seen enough?" hei
asked. "Then let us go back to Wash
As we speeded back across the con
tinent we beheld beneath us again the
burdened express trains rushing toward
the Atlantic, and hundreds of thou
sands of upturned eyes watched our
swift progress, and volleys of cheers
reached our ears, for every one knew
that this was Edison's electrical war
ship, on which the hope of the nation,
and the hopes of all the nations, de
pended. These scenes were repeated
again and again until the oar hovered
over the still expanding capital on the
Potomac, where the unceasing ring of
hammers rose to the clouds.

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