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The herald. [microfilm reel] (Los Angeles [Calif.]) 1893-1900, February 20, 1898, Image 22

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{Copyright, !S9B. by Garrett I*. Serviss.l
The Martians, a race of far greater an
tiquity than matt. Invade and attempt to
conquer the earth in order to relieve their
safer-populated planet. The invasion if
failure owing tn the breaking out "I pes
tilence among the Martians. Astronomers
report that indications on Mars point 10
preparations for a neyv attack. Thomas
A. Edison, howevr. announces that n«
has a plan to successfully resist a see,.mi
invasion. Hi- bus invented n practical air
ship propelled and controlled by electric
ity, and a wonderful engine ol destruc
tion, which he calls the "Disintegrator.
This will cause th netltuont particle
of any object at which it may l" directed
to so vibrate that the object will be com
pletely and Immediately dispersed. When
Mr. Edison's plans become known there
arises a universal cry that the Inhabit
ants of this world shall assume tin offen
sive, and proceed against the Martians.
The rulers of till the nations assemble at
Washington to discuss the campaign. The
sum of twenty-five uinusumi million dol
lars is subscribed to prosecute the war.
and Mr. Eldison is chosen director "f the
preparations. He promises to have a
hundred air ships and Hirer thousand dis
integrators ready within six months. Ho
proves as good as his word. The tloet Is
fully equipped to meet every emergency
that can be thought of: such ns working
and communicating whirr there is no at
mosphere, or in atmospheres different
from our own: signalling, etc. Tlie licet
carries away about 2,000 men. There are
many scientists aboard. Mr. Edison'« in
tention is to stop t'n-st at the moon, and
the start is made at a time when our
satellite is in line yvith '.he earth and
To prevent accidents it had been ar
ranged that the ships should keep a ,
considerable distance apart. Some of
them gradually drifted away, until, on
account of the neutral tint of their
sides, they yvere swallowed up In the .
abyss of space. Still, it was possible
to know where every member of the j ■
squadron was, through the constant In- L
terchange of signals These, as I have : :
explained, were effected by means of ,
mirrors Hashing back the light of |
the sun. i,
Rut, although it was now unceasing ' ,
day for us, yet. there being no at- I •
mosphere to diffuse the sun's light, the
stars yvere visible to us just as at night ,
upon _the earth, and they shone with
extraordinary splendor against tbe In- j,
tense black background of the firma
ment. Tlie lights of some of the more
distant ships of our squadron were not
brighter than the stars in whose neigh- ,
borhood they seemed to be. In some
cases it yvas only possible to distin
guish between the light of a ship and
that of a star by the fact that the
former yvas continually flashing, while
the star was steady In its radiance. i
The most uncanny effect was pro
duced by the absence of atmosphere
around us. Inside the car, where there ,
was air. the sunlight. streaming ,
through one or more of the windows, ]
was diffused and produced ordinary
daylight. ,
Hut wh"n we ventured outside we ,
could only see things by halves. The
side of the car that the sun's rays ,
touched was visible, the other side yvas
Invisible, the light from the stars not
making it bright enough to affect the
eye In contrast yvith the sun-illumined
As I h"ld up my arm before my eyes,
half of it seemed to have been shaved
off lengthwise: a companion on the
deck of the ship looked like half a man.
So the other electrical ships near us '
appeared as half ships, only the ilium- j
mated sides being visible.
We had now got so far away that
the earth had taken on the appearance >
of a heavenly body like the moon. Its
colors had become all blended into a j
golden reddish hue which overspread
nearly Its entire surface, except at tho !
poles, where they yvere broad patches !
of white. It was marvellous to look at
this hug" orb behind us, while far be
yond it shone the blazing sun like an
enormous star in the blackest of nights.
In the opposite direction appeared tha,
silver orb of the moon, and scattered i
nil around were millions of brilliant
stars, amid which, like fireflies, flashed
and sparkled the signal lights of the
A danger that might easily have been
anticipated, that perhaps had been
anticipated, but against which it would
have been difficult, if not impossible, I
to provide, presently manifested it
Hooking out of a Window toward the
right. 1 suddenly noticed the lights of
a distant ship darting about In a
curious curve. Instantly afterward
another member of the squadron near
er by behavt d In the same inexplicable
manner. Then two or three of the
floating cars seemed to be violently
drawn from their courses and hurried
rapidly in the direction of the flagship.
Immediately I perceived a small object,
luridly flaming, which seemed to move
with immense speed in our direc
The truth Instantly flashed upon my
mind, and 1 shouted to the other occu
pants of the car.
Such Indeed it was. We had met this
mysterious wanderer In space at ai
moment when we were moving in a
direction at right angles to the path it
was pursuing around thn fun. Small
as it yvas. and its diameter probably
did not exceed a single foot, it was yet
nn independent little world, und as such
a member of tho solar system. Its dis
tance from the sun being so near that
of the earth, I knew that Its velocity,
assuming is to be travelling in a
nearly circular orbit, must be about j
eighteen miles in a second. With tbls
velocity, then, it plunged like a projec
tile shot by! some mysterious enemy In
space directly through our squadron.
It .had come and was gone before "no
could utter 0b sentence of three words.
Its appearance, and the effect which
it had produced upon fhe simps in whose
neighborhood it pat-sod, indicated that
it bore an Intense and tremendous
charge of electricity. How it hnd be
come thus charged, I cannot pretend to
say, 1 simply record the fact. And
this charge, It was evident, was oppo
site in polarity to that which the ships
of the squadron bore, It therefore ex
erted an at tractive influence upon
them and thus drew them after it.
I had just time to think how lucky
it was that the meteor did not strike
any of us, when, glancing at a ship
just ahead, I perceived that an acci
dent had occurred. The ship swayed
violently from its course, dazzling I
flasties played around it, and two or
three of the .men forming its crew ap
peared for an inatant on its exterior,
w-ildly gesticulating, but almost in-
I stoutly falling prone.
It was evident at a glance that the
car had been struck by the meteor.
| How serious the damage might be we
could not instantly determine. The
| course of our ship was immediately al
i tered, the electric polarity- was changed.
;and we rapidly approached the dis
abled car.
The men who had fallen lay upon its
surface. One of the heavy circular
glasses covering a window had been
Smashed to atoms. Through this the
meteor had passed, killing two or three
men who stood in its course. Then it
had crashed through the opposite side
of the car. and. passing on. disappeared
into space. The store of air contained
in the car had immediately rushed out
through the openings, and when two
or three of us, having donned our air
tight suits as quickly a.s possible, en
tered the wrecked car we found all of
its inmates stretched upon the floor in
a condition of asphyxiation. They, as
well as tiiose who lay upon the exterior,
were Immediately removed to the flag
ship: restoratives were applied: and,
fortunately, our aid had come so
promptly that the lives of all of them
were saved. Hut life had fled from the
mangled bodies of those who had stood
directly in the path of the fearful pro
This strange accident had been wit
nessed by several of the members of
th' 1 fleet, and they quickly drew togeth
er In order to inquire for the particu
lars. Fortunately it happened that tha
disintegrators contained in the wrecked
car yvere not injured. Mr. Edison
i thought that it would be possible to
I repair the car itself, and for that pur
pose he had it attached to the flagship
lin order that it might be carried on as
far as the moon. The lx>dies of the dead
were transported with it. as it was
determined, instead of committing them
to the fearful deep of space where
they- would have wand?red forever, or
else have fallen like meteors upon the
earth, to give them interment in the
lunar soil.
As we now rapidly- approached the
moon the change which the appearance
of its surface underwent yvas no less
wonderful than that which the surface
of the earth had presented in the re
verse order while we were receding
from it. From a pale, silver orb shin
ing with comparative faintness among
the stars, it slowly assumed the ap
pearance of a vast mountainous desert.
As we drew nearer, its colors became
more pronounced: the great flat re
gions appeared darker: the mountain
peaks shone more brilliantly. The
huge chasms seemed bottomless and
I blacker than midnight. Gradually
! separate mountains appeared. What
seemed like expanses of snow and
immense glaciers streaming down their
sides, sparkled with great brilliancy in
| the perpendicular rays of the sun. Our
motion had now assumed the aspect of
falling. We seemed to be dropping from
jan Immeasurable height and yvith an
.inconceivable velocity, straight down I
| upon thos.. great peaks.
Here and there curious lights glowed)
upon the mysterious surface of the
moon. Where the edge of the moon cut
i the sky behind it. it was broken and
jagged with mountain masses. Vast
crater rings overspread its surface,
and in some of these I Imagined I
1 could perceive a. lurid illumination
, coming out of their deepest cavities,
and the curling of mephltlc vapors
around their terrible Jaws.
We were approaching that part of
the moon which is known to astrono
! mers as the Hay of Rainbows. Here a
' huge semi-circular region, as smooth
almost as the surface of a prairie, lay
beneath our eyes, stretching southward
! into a vast ocean-like expanse, while,
ion the north it was enclosed by an
■ enormous range of mountain cliffs,
(rising perpendicularly to a height of
(many thousands of feet, and rent and
'■ gashed in every direction by forces
I which seemed at some remote period to
| have labored at tearing this little yvorld
in pieces.
': It was a fearful spectacle: a dead
land mangled world, too dreadful to
I look upon. The idea of the death of
I the moon yvas, of course, not a new
I one to many of us. We had long been
I aware that the earth's satellite yvas a
! body which had passed beyond the
!stage "f life, if indeed, it had ever been
a life supporting globe; but none of
us was prepared for the terrible
i spectacle which now smote our
At each end of the semi-circular
I ridge that encloses the Hay of Rain
bows ther? is a lofty promontory. That
'at the north-western extremity had
lor.? been known to astronomers under
tli" name of Cape Laplace. The other
promontory, at the southeastern ter
mination, la called Cape Heraelides,
It Was toward the latter that, yve were
approaching, nnd by interchange of
| signals all Ibo members of the squadron
; had been informed that Cape Ilera
clid''S was to be our rendezvous upon
■ the moon.
T had often on the earth drawn a
i smile from my friends by showing them
this promontory yvith a telescope, and
calling their attention to the fact that
the outline of the peak terminating
the cape yvas such ss to present a re
markable resemblance to a human
face, unmistakably a feminine coun
tenance, seen In profile, and possessing
no small degree of beauty. To my as
tonishment, this curious human sem
blance still remained when we had ap
proached so close to the moon that the
mountains forming the capes filled
nearly the whole field of view of the
window from v.-hich I was watching
if. The resemblance, indeed, yvas most
"fan tbip. Indeed, be Diana herself?"
I said, half aloud, but instantly after
ward I was laughing at my fancy, for
Mr. Edison had overheard me and ex
"Where Is she?"
"Why. there." I said, pointing to the
moon. But, io! the appearance had
gone even while I spoke. A swift
change had taken place in the line of
sight by which we were viewing it. and
the likeness had disappeared in conse
A few moments later my astonish
ment W*fl revived, but the cause this
time yvas a very different one. We had
been dropping rapidly toward the
mountains. and the electrician in
charge of the car yvas swiftly and con
stantly changing his potential, and.
like a pilot who feels his way into an
unknown harbor, endeavoring to ap
proach the moon In such a manner that
no hidden peril should surprise us. As
we thus approached I suddenly per
ceived, crowning the very apex of the
lofty peak near th? termination of the
cape, the ruins of what appeared to
be an ancient watch tower. It yvas
evidently composed of Cyclopean blocks,
larger than any that I had ever seen
even among the ruins of Greece, Egypt
ami Asia M'nor.
Here. then, yvas visible proof that
the moon had been inhabited, although
probably it was not inhabited now. I
on oot describe the exultant feeling
which took possession of me at this
discovery. It settled so much that
learned men had been disputing about
for centuries. j
"What will they say." I exclaimed,
"when I show them a photograph of
The Whole Mass Flashed Prismatic Rays of Indescribable Beauty.
Below the peak, stretching far to j
right ami left, lay a barren beach which i
had evidently once h°en washed by sea
waves, because it was marked by long
curved ridges such as '.he advancing
and retiring tide haves upon the shores
of th« ocean.
This beach sloped rapidly outward
and downward toward a profound
abyss, which had once, evidently, been
the bed of a sea, but which now ap
peared to us simply as the empty,
yawning shell of an ocean that had
long vanished.
It was with no small difficulty, and
only after the expenditure of consider
able time, that all the floating ships of
the squadron were gradually brought
to rest on this lone mountain top of
the moon. In accordance with my re
quest. Mr. Edison had the flagship!
moored in tho interior of the great!
ruined watch tower that I have de
scribed. The other ships rested upon
the slope of (he mountain around, us.
Although time pressed, for we know
that the safety of the earth depended
upon our promptness in attacking l
Mars, yet it was determined to remain
here at least two or three days in order
that Ihe wrecked cai - might be re
paired. It was found also that the
passage of the highly electrified meteor
had disarranged the electrical machin
ery in some of the other oars, so that
there were many repairs to be made
besides those necdsd to restore tho
Moreover, we must bury our unfor-|
tunate companions who had been killed
by th? meteor. This. In fact, was tho
flr.ot work that we performed. Strange
was the sight, and stranger our feel
ings, as here on the surface of a world
distant from tho earth, we performed
that last ceremony of respect which
mortals pay to mortality. Tn the an-'
c'.ent beaeih at the foot of the peak we
made a deep opening and there covered
forever the faces of our friends, leaving
them to sleep among the ruins of em-1
pircs and among the graves of races
which hmd vanished probably ages be
fore Adam and Eve appeared In Para
While the repairs were b»lng made,
several scientific expeditions were sent
out in various directions across the
moon. One went westward to investi
gate the great ring plain of Plato and
the lunar Alps. Another crossed the
i ancient Sen of Showers toward the .
lunar Apennines. I
One started to explore the immense.
] crater of Copernicus, which, yawning!
( fifty miles across, presents ii wonderful
j appearance, even from the distance of]
i the earth. The ship in which I. myself. |
| had the good fortune to embark waa
bound for the mysterious lunar moun
tain A ri®t a roh us.
Before these expeditions started, a
careful exploration had been made In
the neighborhood of tape Heraclldes,
But, except that the broken walls of
the watch tower on the peak, composed
of blocks of enormous size, had evi
dently been the work of (features en
dowed with human intelligence, no re
mains were found indicating the for
mer presence of inhabitants upon this
part of the moon.
But along the shore of the old sea.
Just where the so-called Bay of Rain
bows separates itself from the abyss of
the Sea of Showers, there were found ]
some stratified rocks in which the fas
cinated eyes of the explorer beheld the (
clear imprint of a gigantic foot moasur-
Ing five feet in length from toe to heel.
The most minute search failed to re
veal another trace ot the presence of I
the ancient giant who had left the im
press of his foot in the wet sands of the
beach here so many millions of years
ago that oven the Imagination of tlie
geologists shrank from the task of at
tempting to tlx the precise period.
Around this gigantic footprint gath- 1
ered most of the scientific members of
the expedition, wearing their oddly
shaped air-tight suits, connected with
telephone wires, and the spectacle, but
for the tmpressiveness of the discovery,
would have been laughable in the ex
treme. Rending over the mark in the
rock, nodding their heads together,
pointing with their awkwardly ac
coutred arms, they looked like an as
semblage of antediluvian monsters col-1
lected around their prey. Their dis
appointment over the fact that no other
marks of anything resembling human
habitation could be discovered, was i
very great.
It was th" hope of making such other!
discoveries that led to the dispatch of,
the various expeditions I have already I
named. I had chosen to accompany the i
car that was going to Aristarelvus, be
cause, as every one who had viewed
the moon from the earth was aware, |
there was something very mysterious •
about that mountain. I knew that it
was a crater nearly thirty miles in
diameter and very deep, although its j
floor was plainly visible.
What rendered it remarkable was the
fact that that floor and the walls of th*>
crater, particularly on the inner side,
glowed with a marvellous brightness
which rendered them almost blinding
when viewed with a powerful telescope.
So bright were they, indeed, that the
eye was unable to see many of the de
tails which the telescope would have
made visible but for the flood of light!
which poured from the mountains. Sir |
William Herschel had been so com
pletely misled by this appearance that
he supposed he was watching a lunar
volcano in eruption.
It had always be»n a difficult ques
tion what caused the extraordinary
luminosity of Aristarohus. No end of
hypotheses had been invented to ac
count for it. Now I was to assist In
settling these questions forever.
From Cape Heraciides to Aristarchus
the distance in an air line was some
thing over 300 miles. When we had ar
rived within about a hundred miles of
our destination we found ourselves
floating directly over the so-called Har
binger Mountains. The serrated peaks
of Aristarchus then appeared ahead of i
1 us, fairly dazzling in the sunshine.
'It seemed as if a gigantic string of I
diamonds, every one as great as a
mountain peak, had been cast down up
|on the barren surface of the moon and ,
left to waste their brilliance upon the
desert air of this abandoned world.
As we rapidly approached, the daz
zling splendor of the mountain became
almost unbearable to our eyes, and we
were compelled to resort to the device,
practised by all climbers of lofty moun
tains, where the glare of sunlight up
on snow surfaces is liable to cause tem
porary blindness, of protecting our eyes
with neutral-tinted glasses.
When we were comparatively near
tho mountain no longer seemed to glow
with a uniform radiance, evenly dis
tributed over Its entire surface, but
now innumerable points of light, all as
bright as so many little suns, blazed
away at us. It was evident that we
had before us a mountain composed of,
or at least covered with, crystals.
Without stopping to alight on the
outer slopes ot the great ring-shaped
range of peaks which composed Arls
tarchUS, we sailed over their rim nnd
looked down into the Interior. Here the
splendor of the crystals was greater
than on the outer slopes, and the hroad
floor of the crater, thousands of feet
beneath us. shone and sparkled with
overwhelming radiance, as if It were an
immense bin of diamonds, while a peak
In the centre flamed like a stupendous
tiara incrusted with selected gems.
Eager to see what these crystals
were, the car was now allowed rapidly
to drop info the interior of the crater.
With great caution we brought It to
rest uj«m the blazing ground, for the
sharp edges of the crystals would cer
tainly have torn the metallic sides of
the car if it had come Into violent con
tact with them.
Denning our air-tight suits and step
ping carefully out upon this wonderful
footing, we attempted to detach some
of the crystals. Many of them were
firmly fastened, but a few —some nf
astonishing size- were readily loosened.
\ moment's inspection showed that
we had stumbled upon the most mar
vellous work of the forces of crystal
lization that human eyes had ever
rested upon. Rome time in the past
history of the moon there had been an
enormous outflow of molten material
from the crater. This had overspread
the walls and partially filled up the
interior, and later its surface had flow
ered into gems, as thick as blossoms In
a bed of pansies.
The whole mass flashed prismatic
rays of Indescribable beauty and Inten
sity. We gazed at first speechless with
"It cannot be, surely It cannnt be,"
' said Professor Moiaaan. the famous
; French chemist and maker of artificial
. diamonds, at length.
"But it is," said another member of
! the party.
"Are these diamonds?" asked a third.
"I cannot tell yet," replied the Pro
| fessor. "They have the brilliancy Df
• diamonds, but they may be something
•■.Moon jewels," suggested a third,
j These magnificent crystals, some of
which appeared to be almost flawless,
varied in size from the dimensions of
a hazelnut to geometrical solids sev
eral inches in diameter. We carefully
selected as many as it was convenient
to carry and placed them in the car
j for future examination.
| On returning to Cape Heraciides we
| found that the other expeditions had
arrived at the rendezvous ahead of us.
i Their members had wonderful stories
Ito tell of what they had seen, but noth
j ing caused quite so much astonishment
las that which we had to tell and to
j show.
i The.party which had gone to visit
I Plato and the lunar Alps brought back,
however, information which, in a scien
tific sense, was no less interesting than I
what we bad been able to gather.
They had found within the curious
ring of Plato, which is a circle of moun
tains sixty miles in diameter, enclos
ing a level plain remarkably smooth
over most of its surface, unmistakable
evidences of former habitation. A gi
gantic city had evidently at one time
existed near the centre of this great
plain. The outlines of its walls and
the foundation marks of some of its
immense buildings were plainly made
out. and elaborate plans of this van
ished capital of the moon were pre
pared by several members of the party.
, One of them was fortunate enough to
I discover an even more precious relic
of tbe ancient lunarians. It was a
piece of petrified skullbone, represent
ing but a small portion of the head to
I which it had belonged, but yet suffi
cient to enable the anthropologists,
who immediately fell to examining it,
to draw ideal representations of the
head as It must have been In life—the
head of a giant of enormous size which,
if it had possessed a highly organized
brain, of proportionate magnitude,
must have given to Its possessor Intel
lectual powers immensely greater than
any of the descendants of Adam have
ever been endowed with.
In the meantime, the repairs to the
electrical ships had been completed,
and. although these discoveries upon
the moon had created a most profound
sensation among the members of the
expedition, and aroused an almost ir
resistible desire to continue the explor
ations thus happily begun, yet every
body knew that these things were
aside from the main purpose in view,
and that we should be false to our duty
In wasting a moment more upon the
moon than was absolutely necessary
to put the ships in proper condition to
proceed on their warlike voyage.
Everything being prepared then, we
left the mtHin with great regret. Just
forty-eight hours after we had landed
upon Its surface, carrying with us a
determination to revisit It and learn
more of Its wonderful secrets in case
we should survive the dangers which
we were now going to face.
A day or two after leaving the moon
we had another adventure with a wan
dering Inhabitant of space which
brought us Into far greater peril than
had our encounter with the meteor.
The airships had been partitioned off
so that a portion of the interior could
be darkened in order to serve as a
sleeping chamber, wherein, according
to the regulations prescribed by the
commander of the squadron, each mem
ber of the expedition In his turn passed
eight out of every twenty-four hours
sleeping if he could, if not, meditating.
In a more or less dazed way, upon the
wonderful things that he was seeing
and far more Incredible
than the creations of a dream.
One morning, if I may call by the
name morning the time of my period
ical emergence from the darkened
chamber, glancing from one of the win
dows. I was startled to see tn the black
sky a brilliant comet.
No periodical comet, as I knew, was
at this time approaching the neighbor
hood of the sun. and no stranger of that
kind had been detected from the ob
servatories making its way sunward
before we left the earth. Here, how
ever, was unmistakably a comet rush
ing toward the sun, flinging out a great
gleaming tall behind It and so close to
us that I wondered to see It remaining
almost motionless In the sky. This
phenomenon was soon explained to me,
and the explanation was of a most dis
quieting character.
The stranger had already been per
ceived, not only from the flagship but
from the other members of the squad
ron, and. as I now learned, efforts had
been made to get out of its neighbor
hood, but for some reason the elec
trical apparatus did not work perfect
ly, -some mysterious disturbing force
acting upon it—and so it had been
found impossible to avoid an encounter
with the comet, not an actual coming
Into contact with it, but a falling into
the sphere of its Influence.
In fact. I was informed that for sev
eral hours the squadron had been drag
ging along in the wake of a comet, very
much as boats are sometimes towed off
by a wounded whale. Every effort
hnd been made to so adjust the elec
tric charge upon the ships that they
would be repelled from the oometic
mass. but. owing apparently to eccen
tric changes continually going on in
the electric charge affecting the clash
ing mass of meteoric bodies which con
stituted the head of the comet, we
found it impossible to escape from Its
At one Instant the ships would be re- I
polled: immediately afterward they
would be attracted again, and thus
they were dragged hither and thither,
but never able to break from the invis
ible leash which the comet had cast
upon them. The latter was moving
with enormous velocity toward the
sun. and. consequently, we were being
carried back again, away from the ob
ject of our expedition, with a fair pros
pect of being dissipated in blazing
vapors when the comet had dragged us,
unwilling prisoners, into the immediate
neighborhood of the solar furnace.
Even the most cool-headed lost his
self-control in this terrible emergency.
Every kind of device that experionco
or the imagination oould suggest was
tried, but nothing would do. Still on
we rushed, with the electrified atoms
composing the tail of the comet sweep
ing to and fro over the members of the
squadron, as they shifted their posi
tion, like the plume of smoke from a
gigantic steamer, drifting over the sea
birds that follow in Its course.
Was this to end it all, then? Was
this the fate that Providence had in
store for us? Were the hopes of the
earth thus to perish? Was the expedi
tion to be wrecked and its fate to re
main forever unknown to the planet
from which it had set forth? And wan
our beloved globe, which had seemed so
fair to us when we last looked upon it
near by, and in whoso defense we had
resolved to spread our last breath, to
be left helpless and at the mercy of Its
Implacable foe in the sky?
At length we gave ourselves up for
lost. There seemed to be no possible
way to free ourselves from the baleful
grip of this terrible and unlooked-for
As the comet approached the sun its
electrical energy rapidly increased, and
watching It with telescopes, for we
could not withdraw our fascinated eyes
from It, we could clearly behold tho
fearful things that went on in its nu
This consisted of an Immense num
ber of separate meteors of no very
great size individually, but which were
in constant motion among one another,
darting to and fro, clashing and smash
ing together, while fountains of blazing
metallic particles and hot mineral va
pors poured out in every direction.
As I watched It, unable to withdraw
my eyes, I saw imaginary forms re
vealing themselves amid the naming
meteor. They seemed like creatures ln
agony, tossing their arms, bewailing in
their attitudes the awful falte that had
overtaken them, and fairly chilling my
blood with the pantomime of torture
which they exhibited. 1 thought of an
old superstition which I had often
heard about the earth, and exclaimed:
"Yes, surely, this Is a flying hell!"
As the electric activity of the comet
Increased, Its continued changes of po
tential and polarity became more fre
quent, and the electrical ships darted
about with an even greater confusion
than before. Occasionally one of them,
seised with a sudden Impulse, would
spring toward the nucleus of the comet
with' a sudden access of velocity that
would fling %very one of its crew from
his feetf. and all would lie sprawling on
the floor of the car while It rushed, as
It seemed, to Inevitable and Instant de
So great was our excitement and so
complete our absorption ln the fearful
peril that we had not noticed the pre
cise direction in which the comet was
carrying us. It was enough to know
that the goal of the journey was the
furnace of the sun. nut presently
some one In the flagship recalled us
to a more accurate sense of our situa
tion in space by exclaiming:
"Why, there Is ithe earth!"
And there, Indeed, it was, its great
globe rolling under our eyes, with the
contrasted colors of the continents and
clouds, and the watery gleam ot the
ocean spread beneath us.
"We are going to strike It!" ex
claimed somebody. "The comet is go
ing to dash Into the earth."
Such a collision at first seemed In
evitable, but presently It was noticed
that the direction of the comet's mo
tion was such that while it might graze
the earth It would not actually strike
And so. like a swarm of giant Insects
circling about an electric light from
whose magic influence they cannot es
cape, our ships went en, to be whipped
against the earth in passing and then
to continue their swift Journey to de
"Thank Ood, this saves us!" sudden
ly cried Mr. Edison.
"Why, the earth of course. Do you
not see that as the co/niot sweeps close
to the great planet the superior at
traction of the latter will snatch ua
from its grasp, and that thus we shall
be able to escape?"
And it was Indeed as Mr. Edison had
predicted. .In ablaze of falling meteors
the comet swept the outer limits of the
earth's atmosphere ami passed on,
while the swaying ships, having l>een
Instructed by signals what to do. des
perately applied their electrical ma
chinery to reverse the attraction and
threw themselves into the arms of their
mother earth.
In another Instant we were all free,
settling down through the quiet atmos
phere with the Atlantic Ocean spark
ling in the morning sun far below.
We looked at one another in amaze
ment. So this was the end of our voy
age! This was the completion of our
warlike enterprise. We had started out
•to conquer a world, and we had come
Iwiok ignominlously dragged ln the
train of a comet.
It would be Impossible to describe
the chagrin of ovary member of the ex
The electric ships rapidly assembled
and hovered high ln the aJr, while their
commanders consulted about what
should be done. A universal feeling of
shame almost drove them to a decision
not to land upon the surface of the
planet, and If possible not to let Its In
habitants know what had occurred.
I shall not delay my narrative by un
dertaking to describe the astonishment
and the disappointment of the Inhabit
ants ot the earth when, within a fort
night from our departure, they saw us
back again, with no laurels of victory
crowning our brows.
We made a short story of It, for we
had not the heart to go Into details. We
told of our unfortunate comrades whom
we had buried on tlie moon, and there
was one gleam of satisfaction when we
exhibited the wonderful crystals we
had collected ln the crater at Arlstar
Mr. Edison determined to stop only
long enough to 'test the electrical ma
chinery of the cars, which had been
more or less seriously deranged during
our wild chase after the comet, and
then to start straight hack for Mars—■
•this time on a through trip.
The astronomers, who hnd been
watching Mars since our departure
with their telescopes, reported that
mysterious lights continued to be vis
ible, but that nothing Indicating the
starting of another expedition for the
earth had been seen.
Within twenty-four hours we were
ready for our second start.
High above us, In the centre of the
heavens, glowed the rod planet which
was the goal of our journey.
The needed computations of velocity
and direction of flight having been re
peated, and the ships being In readi
ness, we started direct for Mars.
An enormous charge of electricity
was Imparted to each member of the
squadron, in order that as soon as we
had reached the upper limits of tr>e at
mosphere, where the ships could move
swiftly, without danger of being con
sumed by the heat developed by the
friction of their passage through the
air, a very great initial velocity could
be imparted.
Once started off by this tremendous
electrical kick, and with no atmosphere
to resist our 'motion, we should be able
to retain the same velocity, barring in
cidental encounters, until we arrived
near the surface of Mars.
When we wore free of tho atmos
phere, and the ships wore moving away
from the earth, with the highest veloc
ity which we were able to impart to
them, observations on the stars were
made fn order to determine the rate of
our speed.
This was found to be ten miles ln a
second, or 864,000 miles In a day, a very
much greater speed than that with
which we had travelled on starting to
touch at tho moon. Supposing this
velocity to remain uniform —and with
no known resistance, It might reason
ably be expected to do so—we should
arrive at Mars in a little less than
forty-two days, the distance of tha
planet from the earth being, at this
time, about thirty-six million miles.
Tongue Twisters.
The popularity of Peter Piper's cele
brated peck of pickled peppers will
probably never wane as a snare to
catch the tongue that would fain be
agile; but the test has formidable
rivals. The following short sentences,
as their authors maintain, do wonders
ln baffling the ordinary powers of
speech: "Gaze on the gay gray brig
ade " "The sea ceaseth, and It suffi
ceth us " "Say, should such a Shapely
sash shabby stitches show?" "Strange
strategic statistics." "Give Grimes
Jim's gilt gig whip." "Sarah In a shawl
shoveled soft snow softly. A cup of
coffee in a copper coffee cup."
Sold Spider Pills.
There was an old lady In Charleston
not many years ago who turned a
penny by the sale of spider-pills, which
were considered a sovereign remedy for
certain fevers. The "daddy-long-leg"
spider was in great demand In tha
lower wards as long as she lived.

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