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The herald. [microfilm reel] (Los Angeles [Calif.]) 1893-1900, March 13, 1898, Image 20

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EDISON'S
CONQUEST
OF MARS
[Copyright, IS9S. by Garrett P. Servlss.]
SYNOPSIS.
The Inventive genius of Thomas A. Edi
son makes possible an attack of the earth
upon Mars. This ls done to prevent a sec
ond invasion of the Martians, who are
tning to relieve their overpopulated
planet; the lirst having tailed through the
breaking out of disease and not human ef
fort. Edison Invents a practical electrical
tiir ship, and an engine of destruction
called the ••Disintegrator,'' which will
cause the constituent particles of any ob
ject at which It may be directed tp so
vibrate that the object will be Immediate
ly und completely dispersed. A large licet
of airships armed with disintegrators and
manned by two thousand nun. among
whom are many famous scientists, sets
out. While several million miles from
Mars the expedition comes upon a party
ot Martians upon a small heavenly body
one of the asteroids. The Martians arc
of giant stature, human In form, but ot
Somewhat repulsive aspect. The asteroid
Is of solid gold, and to get the precious
metal is doubtless the reason of the Mar
tians' presence. Another party from
Mats arrives in one of their aerial cars,
and an encounter follows, in which, how
ever, the superior efficiency of the disinte
grator over the enemy's engines of war
is :ibly proven, and the fleet leaves for
Mats after all the Martians have been
killed, except one. who is taken prisoner.
But victory has not been won until sev
eral Ships have been destroyed, and many
men killed. During the journey much
progress is made by the linguists of the
party In acquiring the language of the
captured Martian. When the squadron
arrives In the sky of Mars, evidences of
high civilization are seen throughout the
land and speculation is rife among the
visitors from the earth as to what lies
before them.
XIV.
The thing that gave us the most un
easiness was the fact that we (lid not
yet know what powers the Martians
might have in reserve. It was but nat
ural to suppose that here, on their own
ground, they would possess means of
defence even more effective than the
offensive engines they had employed in
attacking enemies so many millions of
miles from home.
It was Important that we should
waste no time, and it was equally im
portant that we should select the most
vulnerable point for attack. It was
self- evident, therefore, that our first
duty would be to reconnoitre the sur
face of the planet and determine its
weakest point.
Thus far we had remained suspended
at so great a height above the planet
that we had hardly entered into the
perceptible limits of its atmosphere,
and there was no evidence that we had
been seen by th"? inhabitants of Mars;
but before starting on our voyage of
exploration it was determined to drop
down closer to the surface in order
that we might the more certainly iden
tify the localities over which we
passed.
When we had arrived within a dis
tance of three miles from the surface
of Mars, we suddenly perceived ap
proaching from the eastward a large
airship, which was navigating the Mar
tian atmosphere at a height of perhaps
half a mile above the ground.
This airship moved rapidly on to a
point nearly beneath us, when it sud
denly paused, and made signals. In a
short time we found ourselves sur
rounded by at least twenty similar
aerostats approaching swiftly from
different sides.
It was a great mystery to us where
so many airships had been concealed
previous to their sudden appearance in
answer to the signals.
But the mystery was quickly solved
when we saw detaching itself from the
surface of the planet beneath us.
where, while it remained immovable,
Its color had blended with that of the
soil so as to render it invisible, anchor
of the mysterious ships.
In a short time the atmosphere a
mile or two below us, and to a distance
of perhaps twenty milest around in
every direction, was alive with airships
of various sizes, and some of most ex
traordinary forms, exchanging signals,
rushing to and fro, and all finally con
centrating beneath the place where our
squadron was suspended.
We had poked the hornet's nest with
a vengeance!
As yet there had been no sting, but
we might quickly expect to feel it if We
did not get out of range.
Accordingly instructions were flashed
throughout the squadron to instantly
reverse polarities and rise as swiftly as
possible to a great height.
It was evident that this manoeuvre
would save us from danger if it were
quickly effected, because the airships
of the Martians were simply airships
anil nothing more. They could only
float in the atmosphere, and had no
means of rising above it, or of naviga
ting empty space.
To have turned our disintegrators
upon them, and to have begun a battle
then and there, would have been
folly.
They outnumbered us, overwhelm
ingly, the majority of them were yet at
a considerable distance and we could
not have done battle, even with our
entire squadron acting together, with
more than one quarter of them simul
taneously. We must first get some idea
of the planet's means of defence before
we ventured to assail it.
Having risen rapidly to a height of
twenty-five or thirty miles, so that we
could feel confident that our ships had
vanished at least from the naked eye
view of our enemies bi neath, a brief
consultation was held.
It was ii BOlved to take our position
in the twillcrht space separating day
find night, and then hover over the
planet at that point, allowing it to turn
beneath us, so that as we looked down,
we should see in succession the entire
circuit of tho globe of Mars while it
rolied under our eyes.
In tburs remaining suspended over the
planet on the line of daybreak, so to
Bpeak, we believed that we should be
peculiarly safe from detection by the
eyes of the inhabitants. Even astrono
mers are not likely to be wide awake
lust at the peep of dawn. Almost all
Garrett P.Serviss
of the Inhabitants, we confidently be
lieved, would still be sound asleep upon
that part of the planet passing directly
beneath us, and those who were awake
would not be likely to watch for unex
pected appearances in the sky.
Besides, our height was so great that
notwithstanding tho numbers of the
squadron, we could not easily be seen
from the surface of the planet, and
if seen at all, we might be mistaken for
high-Hying birds.
Here we remained then through an
entire rotation of Mars, which is but
little over twenty-four hours.
We saw pass beneath us the curious,
half-drowned continent known to as
tronomers as the Region of Deucalion,
then another sea, or gulf, until we were
floating, at a height of perhaps five
miles above a great continental land,
at least three thousand miles broad
from east to west, and which I Imme
diately recognized as that to which
astronomers had given the various
names of "Aeria," "Edom," "Arabia,"
and "Eden."
We could see at a distance some of
these great red regions, and perceive
the curious network of canals by which
they were intersected.
The magnificence of the panorama
surpassed belief. From the earth about
a dozen of the principal canals crossing
the continent beneath us had been per
ceived, but we saw hundreds, nay,
thousands of them!
It was a double system, intended
both both for irrigation and for protec
tion, and far more marvelous in its
completeness than the boldest specula
tive minds among our astronomers had
ever dared to imagine.
"Ha! that's what I always said," ex
claimed a veteran from one of our
great observatories. "Mars is red be
cause its soil and Its vegetation are
red."
And certainly appearances Indicated
that he was right.
Hut what trees! And what grass!
And what flowers!
Our telescopes showed that even the
smaller trees must be 200 or 300 feet in
height and there were forests of giants,
whose average height was evidently at
least 1,000 feet.
"That's all right," exclaimed the en
thusiast I have just quoted. "I knew
it would be so. - lie trees are big, for
the same reason that the men are, be
cause the planet ls small and they can
grow big without becoming too heavy
!to stand."
Flashing in the sun on all sides were
the roofs of metallic buildings, which
were evidently the only kind of edifices
that Mars possessed. At any rate, if
stone or wood were employed In their
construction, both were completely cov
ered with metallic plates.
In succession as they passed from
night into day beneath our feet came
the land of Chryse, the great continent
of Tharsis, the curious region of inter
secting canals which puzzled astrono
mers on the earth had named the "fior-
I dian Knot," the continental lands of
| Memnonia, Amazonia and Aeolia, the
mysterious centre where hundreds of
vast canals came together from every
direction, called the Triviun Charontls;
the vast circle of Elysium, a thousand
miles across, and completely surround
ed by a broad green canal the contin
ent of Libya, which, as I remembered,
had been half covered by a tremendous
inundation, whose effects were visible
from the earth in the year ISSO. and
finally the long, dark sea of the Syrtls
Major, lying directly south of the land
of Helms.
i The excitement and interest which
Fwe all experienced were so great that
not one of us took a wink of sleep dur
ing the entire twenty-four Hours of our
! marvelous watch.
There are one or two things of special
| interest amid the multitude of wonder
j ful observations that we made which I
| must mention here on account of their
connection with the important events
; that followed soon after.
Just west of the land of Chryse we
I saw the smaller land of Ophlr, in the
j midst of which is a singular spot
j called the Juventae Pons, and this
: Fountain of Youth, as our astronomers,
by a sort of prophetic inspiration, had
named it, proved later to be one of the
most incredible marvels on the planet
Mars.
Further to the west, and north from
the great continent of Tharsis, we be
held the immense oval-shaped land of
Thaumasia containing in its centre the
celebrated "Lake of the Sun," a circu
lar body of water not less than GOO
miles in diameter, with dozens of great
canals running away from it like the
spokes of a wheel in every direction,
thus connecting it with the ocean
which surrounds it on the south and
east, and with the still larger canals
that encircle it toward the north and
west.
This Lake of th- Pun came to play a
great part in our subsequent adven
tures. It was evident to us from the
beginning that it was the chief centre
of population on the planet.
Having completed the circuit of the
Martian globe, we were moved by the
same feeling that every discoverer of
new lands experiences, and immediate
ly returned to our original place above
the land of Hellas, because since that
was the first part of Mars that wo had
seen, we felt a greater degree of fami
liarity with it than with any other
portion of the planet, and there, in a
certain sense, we felt "at home."
But, its it proved, our enemies were
on the watch for us there. We ought,
of course, to have been a little more
cautious in approaching the place
where they first caught Fight of us,
since we might have known that they
would remain on the watch near that
spot.
We saw their ships assembling once
more far down In the atmosphere be
neath us, and we thought we could de
tect evidences of somethlne unusual
going; on upon the surface ot the
planet.
Suddenly from the ships, and from
various points on the ground beneath,
there rose high in the .-lr, and carried
by invisible currents in every direction,
immense volumes of black smoke, or
vapor, which blotted out ot sight
everything below them!
South, north, west and east, the cur
tain of blackness rapidly spread, until
the whole face of the planet as far as
our eyes could reach, and the nir ships
thronging under us, were all concealed
from sight!
Mars had played the game of the
cuttlefish, which when pursued by its
enemies, darkens the water behind it
by a sudden outgush of inky fluid, and
thus escapes the eye of its foe.
XV.
After the first pause of surprise the
squadron quickly backed away into the
sky, rising rapidly, because, from one
of the swirling eddies beneath us the
smoke began suddenly to pile itself up
In an enormous aerial mountain, whose
peaks shot higher and higher, with ap
parently increasing velocity, until they
seemed about to engulf us with their
tumbling ebon masses.
Unaware what the nature of this
mysterious smoke might be, and fear
ing it was something more than a
shield for the planet and might be de
structive to life, we fled before it, as
before the onward sweep of a pesti
lence.
Directly underneath the flagship, one
of the aspiring smoke peaks grew with
most portentous swiftness, and, not
withstanding all our efforts, in a little
while it had enveloped us.
Several of us were standing on the
deck of the electrical ship. We were
almost stilled by the smoke, and were
compelled to lake refuge within the
car, where, until the electric lights had
been turned on, darkness so black
that it oppressed the strained eyeballs,
prevailed.
Hut in this brief experience, terrify
ing though it was, we had learned one
thing. The smoke would kill by stran
gulation, but evidently there was noth
ing especially poisonous in its nature.
"This spoils our plans," said the
commander. "There is no use of re
maining here for the present; let us
see how far this thing extends."
At lirst we rose straight away to a
height of 200 or 300 miles, thus passing
entirely beyond the sensible limits of
the atmosphere, and far above the
highest point that the smoke could
reach.
From this commanding point of view
our line of sight extended to an im
mense distance over the surface of
Alars in all directions. Everywhere
the same appearance; the whole
planet was evidently covered with
smoke.
->. complete telegraphic system evi
dently connected all the strategic
points upon Mars, so that, at a signal
from the central station the wonderful
curtain could be instantaneously
drawn over the entire lace of the
planet.
In order to make certain that no part
of Mars remained uncovered, we
dropped down again nearer to the up
per level of the smoke clouds, and then
completely circumnavigated the planet.
It wits thought possible that on the
night side no smoke would be found
and that it would be practicable for us
to make a descent there.
Cut when we had arrived on that
side of Mars which was turned away
from the sun, we no longer saw be
neath us, as we had done on our pre
vious visit to the night hemisphere of
the planet, brilliant group.') and clus
ters of electric lights beneath us. All
was dark.
"Apparently wo can do nothing
here." said Mr. Edison. "Let uo return
to the daylight r.ido."
When we hud arrived near the point
where wo had been when the wonderful
phenomenon fll'Ut made Its appearance,
we paused, and then, at the suggestion
jjOS ANGELES HERALD i SUNDAY MOWING, MARCH 13, 1896.
of one of the chemists, dropped close to
the surface of the smoke curtain
which had now settled down into com
parative quiescence, in order that we
might examine it a little more crit
ically.
The flagship was driven into the
smoke cloud so deeply that for a min
ute we were again enveloped in night.
A quantity of the smoke was entrapped
in a glass Jar.
Rising again into the sunlight, the
chemists began an examination of the
constitution of the smoke. They were
unable to determine its precise charac
acter, but they found that its density
was astonishingly slight. This ac
counted for the rapidity with which it
had risen, and the great height which
it had attained in the comparatively
light atmosphere of Mars.
"It Is evident," said one of the chem
ists, "that this smoke does not extend
down to the surface of the planet.
Just how deep the smoke curtain is
we can only determine by experiment,
but it would not be surprising if the
thickness of this great blanket which
Mars has thrown around itself,
should prove to be a quarter or half a
mile."
"Anyhow," said one of the United
States army officers, "they have dodged
out of sight, and I don't see why we
should not dodge In and get at them.
If there is clear air under the smoke,
as you think, why couldn't the ships
dart down through the curtain and
come to a close tackle with the Mar
tians?"
"It would not do at all," said the
commander. "We might simply run
ourselves Into an ambush. No, we
must stay outside, and If possible fight
them from hero."
"They can't keep this thing up for-
One Close to the Flagship Changed Color, Withered, and Collapsed
ever," said the officer. "Perhaps the
smoke Will clear off after a while, an;/
then we will have a chance."
"Not much hope of that, 1 am
afraid," said the chemist who had
originally spoken. "This smoke could
remain floating in the atmosphere for
weeks, and the only wonder to me Is
how they ever expect to get rid of it,
when they think their enemies have
gone and they want some sunshine
again."
"All that is mere speculation," said
Mr. Edison; "let us get at something
practical. We must do one of two
things: either attack them shielded as
they are or wait until the smoke has
cleared away. The only other alterna
tive, that of plunging blindly down
through the curtain, is at present nqj
to be thought of."
"I am afraid we couldn't stand a
very long siege ourselves," suddenly
remarked the chief commissary of the
expedition, who was one of the mem
bers of the flagship's company.
"What do you mean by that?" asked
Mr. Edison, sharply turning to him.
"Well, sir, you see," said the commis
sary, stammering, "our provisions
wouldn't hold out."
"Wouldn't hold out?" exclaimed Mr.
Edison, in astonishment, "why,we have
compressed and prepared provi
sions enough to last this squadron for
three years."
"We had, sir, when we left the
earth." said the commissary, in appar
ent distress, "but I am sorry to say
that something has happened."
"Something has happened?" Explain
yourself!"
"I don't krow what It ls, but on in
specting some of the compressed
stores, a short time ago, I found that
a large number of them were de
stroyed, whether through leakage of
air, or what, I om unable to say. I sent
to inquire as to the condition of the
stores in the other ships in the squad
ron and I found that a similar condi
tion of things prevailed there."
"The fact Is," continued the com
missary, "we have only provisions
enough. In proper condition, for about
ten days' consumption."
"After that we shall have to forage
on the country, then," said the army
officer.
"Why did you not report this be
fore?" demanded Mr. Edison.
"Because, sir," was the reply, "the
discovery was not made until after we
arrived close to Mars, and slnco then
there has been so much excitement
that I have hardly had time to make
an investigation and find out what the
precise condition of affairs ls; besides,
I thought we should land upon the
planet and then we would be able to
renew our supplies."
I closely watched Mr. Edison's ex
pression In order to see how this most
alarming news would affect him. Al
though he fully comprehended Its fear
ful significance, he did not lose his self
command.
"Well, well." he salrl, "then It will be
come necessary for us to act quickly.
Evidently we cannot wait for the
smoke to clear off, even if there were
any hope of its clearing-. It is very
lucky that we have ten days' supply
left. A great deal can be done in ten
days."
A few hours after this the command
er called me aside, and said:
"I have thought it all out. I am
going to reconstruct some of our disin
tegrators so as to increase their range
and their power. Then I am going to
have some of the astronomers of the
expedition locate for me the moat vul
nerable points upon the planet, where
the population is densest and a hard
blow would have the most effect, and
lam going to pound away at them,
through the smoke and roc whether
we cannot draw them out of their
shell."
With his expert assistants Mr. Edi
son set to work at once to transform
a number of the disintegrators into
still more formidable engines of the
same description. One of these new
weapons having been distributed to
each of the members of the squadron,
the next problem was to decide where
to strike.
When we first examined the surface
of the planet It will be remembered
that we had regarded the Lake of the
Sun and its environs as being the very
focus of the planet. While it might
also be a strong point of defence, yet
an effective blow struck there would
go to the enemy's heart and be more
likely to bring the Martians promptly
to terms than anything else.
The first thing, then, was to locate
the Lake of the Sun on the smoke-hid
den surface of the planet beneath us.
This was a problem that the astrono
mers could readily solve.
Fortunately, In the flagship itself
there was one of these star-gazing
gentlemen who had made a specialty
of the study of Mars. The astronomer
had records in his pocket which ena
bled him, by a brief calculation, to say
just when the Lake of the Sun would
be beneath us.
Having thus located the heart of our
foe behind its shield of darkness, we
prepared to strike.
"I have ascertained," said Mr. Edi
son, "the vibration period of the smoke,
so that it will be easy for us to shatter
it into Invisible atoms. You will see that
every stroke of the disintegrators will
open a hole through the black curtain.
If their field of destruction could be
mad? wide enough, we might In that
manner clear away the entire covering
of smoke, but all that we shall really
be able to do will be to puncture it with
holes, which will, perhaps, enable us to
catch glimpses of the surface beneath.
In that manner we may be able more
effectually to concentrate our lire upon
the most vulnerable points."
Everything being prepared, and the
entire squadron having assembled to
watch the effect of the opening blow
and be ready to follow it up, Mr. Edi
son himself poised one of the new dis
integrators, which was too large to b*>
carried in the hand, and, following the
direction indicated by the calculations
of the astronomer, launched the vibra
tory discharge Into the ocean of black
ness beneath.
XVI.
Instantly there opened beneath us a
huge well-shaped hole, from which the
black clouds rolled violently back in
every direction.
Through this opening we saw the
gleam of brilliant lights beneath.
We had made a hit.
"It is the Lake of the Sun!" shouted
the astronomer who furnished the cal
culation by means of which its position
had been discovered.
And, indeed, it was the Lake of the
Sun. While the opening In the clouds
made by the discharge was not wide,
yet it sufficed to give ub a view of a
portion of the curving shore of the
lake, which was ablaze with electric
lights.
Whether our shot had done any dam
age, beyond making the circular open
ing in the cloud curtain, we could not
tell, for almost Immediately the sur
rounding black r.moke masses billowed
in to fill up the hjla.
But in the brief glimpse we hod
caught sight of two or three large air
ships hovering In space above that part
of the Lake of the Sun and its border
ing city which we had beheld. It
seemed to me in the brief glance I had
that one ship had been touched by
the discharge and was wandering in
an erratic manner, but the clouds
closed In so rapidly that I could not be
certain.
It had been prearranged that the first
discharge from the flagship should be
a signal for the concentration of the
fire of all the other ships upon the same
spot. ■»
A little hesitation, however, oc
curred, and a halt a minute had
elapsed before the disintegrators from
the other members of the squadron
were got into play.
Then, suddenly we saw an Immense
commotion in th* eload beneath us. It
seemed to be beaten and hurled In
every direction and punctured like 4
sieve with nearly a hundred circular
holes. Through these gaps we could see
clearly a large region ot the planet's
surface, with many sir ships floating
above It, and the blase of Innumerable
electric lights illuminating It. The
Martians had created an artificial day
under the curtain.
This time there was no question that
the blow had been effective. Four or
five of the air ships, partially destroyed,
tumbled headlong toward the ground,
while even from our great distance
there was unmistakable evidence that
fearful execution had been done among
the crowded structures along the shore
of the Lake.
As each of our ships possessed but
one of the new disintegrators, and
since a minute or so was required to
adjust them for a fresh discharge, we
remained for a little while inactive af
ter delivering the blow. Meanwhile
the cloud curtain, though rent to
shreda by the concentrated discharge
of the disintegrators, quickly became a
uniform black sheet again, hiding
everything.
We had Just had time to congratulate
ourselves on the successful opening of
our bombardment, and the disintegra
tor of the flagship was poised for an
other discharge, when suddenly out of
the black expanse beneath, quivered
immense electric beams, clear cut and
straight as bars of steel, but das
zling our eyes with unendurable bril
liance.
It was the reply of the Martians to
our attack.
Three or four of the electrical ships
were seriously damaged, and one, close
beside the flagship, changed color,
withered and collapsed, with the same
sickening phenomena that had made
our hearts shudder when the first dis
aster of this kind occurred during our
brief battle over the asteroid.
Another score of our comrades were
gone, and yet we had hardly begun the
fight.
Glancing at the other ships, which
had been injured, I saw that the
damage to them was not so serious,
although they were evidently "hors de
combat" for the present.
Our fighting blood was now boiling
and we did not stop long to count
our losses.
"Into the Bmoke!" was the signal,
antl tho ninety and more electro ships
which still remained In condition for
action Immediately shot downward.
It was a wild plunge. We kept off
the decks while rushing through the
blinding smoke, but the instant we
emerged below where we found our
selves still a mile above the ground,
we were out again ready to strike.
I have simply a confused recollection
of flashing lights beneath, and a great,
dark arch of clouds above, out of which
our ships seemed dropping on all sides,
and then the fray burst upon and
around us and no man could see or
notice anything except by half-com
prehended glances.
Almost In an Instant It seemed a
swarm of air ships surrounded us,
while from what, for lack of a more de
scriptive name, I shall call the forts
about the Lake of the Sun, leaped
tongues of electric fire, before which
some of our ships were driven like bits
of flaming paper in a high wind, gleam
ing for a moment, then curling up and
gone forever!
It was an awful sight; but the bat
tle fever was raging in us, and we, on
our part, were not idle.
Every man carried a disintegrator,
and these hand instruments, together
with those of heavier calibre on the
ships, poured their resistless vibrations
in every direction through the quiver
ing air.
The air ships of the Martians were
destroyed by the score, but yet they
flocked upon us thicker and faster.
We dropped lower, and ouf blows fell
upon the forts and upon the wide
spread city bordering the Lake of the
Sun. We almost entirely silenced the
rite of one of the forts; but there were
forty more in full action within reach
of our eyes!
Some of the metallic buildings were
partly unroofed by the disintegrators
and some had their walls riddled and
fell with thundering crashes, whose
sound rose to our ears above the hellish
din of battle. I caught glimpses of
giant forms struggling In the ruins
and rushing wildly through the streets,
but there was no time to see anything
clearly.
Our Aagshlp seemed charmed. A
crowd of air ships hung upon us like a
swarm of angry bees, and, at times,
one could not see for the lightning
strokes—yet we escaped destruction,
while ourselves dealing death on every
hand.
It was a glorious tight, but It was not
war; no, it was not war. We really
had no more chance of ultimate suc
cess amid that multitude of enemies
than a prisoner running the gauntlet
In a crowd ot savages has ot es
cape.
A conviction of the hopelessness of
'the contest Anally forced itself upon
our minds, and the shattered squad
ron, which had kept well together
amid the storm of death was signaled
to retreat.
Shaking off their pursuers, as a hunt
ed bear shakes off the dogs, sixty of
the electrical ships rose up through the
clouds where more than ninety had
gone down!
The Martians did not for an instant
cease their Are, even when we were far
beyond their reach. With furious per
sistence they blazed away through the
cloud curtains and the vivid splkea of
lightning shuddered so swiftly on one
another's track that they were like a
flaming halo of electric lances around
the frowning helmet of the War
Planet.
But after a while they stopped their
terrific sparring and once more the
immense globe assumed the appear
ance of a vast hill of black smoke.
Evidently the i.lartlanß believed they
had linished us.
At no time since the beginning of our
adventure had it appeared to me as
quite so hopeless, reckless and mad as
it seemed at present.
It was plain we could not endure this
sort of thing. We must nnd some other
means of assailing Mars or else give up
the attempt. '
Our provisions could last only a few
days longer. The supply would not
carry us one-quarter of the way back
to the earth, and we must therefore
remain here and literally conquer or
die.
In this extremity a consultation of
the principal officers was called upon
the deck of the flagship.
Here the suggestion was made that
we should attempt to effect by strate
gy what we had failed to do by force.
An old army officer who had served
In many wars against the cunning In
dians of the West, Colonel Alonzo Jef
ferson Smith, was the author of this
suggestion.
"Let us circumvent them," he said.
"We can do It In this way. The chances
•re that all of the available fighting
force of the planet Mars Is now concen
trated on this side and In the neigh
borhood of the Lake of the Bun.
"Possibly, by some kind of X-ray
business, they can only see us dimly
through the clouds, and If we get a lit
tle farthor away they will not be able
to see us at all.
"Now, I suggest that a certain num
ber of the electrical ships be with
drawn from the squadron to a great
distance, while the remainder star
here; or. better still, approach to a
point Juat beyond the reach of those
streak of lightning and began a bom
bardment of the clouds without paying
any attention to whether the strokes
reach through the clouds and do any
damage or not.
"This will induce the Martians to
believe that we are determined to press
our attack at this point
"In the meantime, while these ships
are raising a hulls baloo on this side
of the planet, and drawing their Ure
as much as possible, without running
into any actual danger, let the others
which have been selected for the pur
pose, sail rapidly around to the other
side of Mars and take them in the
rear."
It was not perfectly clear what Colo
nel Smith Intended to do after the
landing had been effected In the rear
of the Martians, but still there seemed
a good deal to be said for his sugges
tion, and It would, at any rate, if car
ried out, enable us to learn something
about the condition of things on the
planet, and perhaps furnish us with
a hint as to how we could best pro
ceed in the further prosecution of the
siege.
Accordingly It was resolved that
about twenty ships should be told
off for this movement, and Colonel
Smith himself was placed In com
mand.
At my desire I accompanied the neWi
commander In his flagship.
Rising to a considerable elevation in
order that there might be no risk of
being seen, we began our flank move
ment while the remaining ships in ac
cordance with the understanding,
dropped nearer the curtain 'of cloud
and commenced a bombardment with
the disintegrators, which caused a tre
mendous commotion in the clouds,
opening vast gaps in them, and occa
sionally revealing a glimpse of the elec
tric lights on the planet, although it
was evident that the vibratory cur
rents did not reach the ground. The
Martians immediately replied to this
renewed attack, and again the cloud
covered globe bristled with lightning,
which flashed so fiercely out of the
blackness below that the stoutest
hearts among us quailed, although we
were situated well beyond the danger.
But this sublime spectacle rapidly
vanished from our eyes when, having
attained a proper elevation, we began
our course toward the opposite hemi
sphere of the planet.
We guided our flight by the stars,
and from our knowledge of the rotation
period of Mars, and the position which
the principal points on its surface must
occupy at certain hours, we were able
to tell what part of the planet lay be
neath us.
Having completed our semi-circuit
we found ourselves on the night side
of Mars, and determined to lose no
time in executing our coup. But it
was deemed best that an exploration
should first be made by a single elec
trical ship, and Colonel Smith naturally
wished to undertake the adventure
with his own vessel.
We dropped rapidly through the
black cloud curtain, which proved to be
at least half a mile in thickness, and
then suddenly emerged, as If suspended
at the apex of an enormous dome.
arching above the surface of the planet
a mile beneath us, which sparkled on
all sides with innumerable lights.
These lights were so numerous and so
brilliant as to produce a faint imitation
of daylight, even at our Immense
height above the ground, and the dome
ot cloud out of which we had emerged
assumed a soft fawn color that pro
duced an indescribably beautiful ef
fect.
For a moment we recoiled from our
undertaking, and arrested the motion
of the electric ship.
For on closely examining the surface
beneath us we found that there was a
broad region, where comparatively few
bright lights were to be seen. Prom
my knowledge of the geography ot
Mars, I knew that this was a part of
the Land of Ausonia, situated a few
hundred miles northeast ot Hellas*
where we had first seen the planet.
Evidently It was not so thickly popu
lated as some of the other parts of
Mafs, and its comparative darkness
was an attraction to us. We determined
to approach within a tew hundred feet
of the ground with the electric ship,
and then. In case no enemies appeared,
to visit the soil Itself.
"Perhaps we shall see or hear some
thing that will be of use to üb." said
Colonel Smith, "and for the purposes
of this first reconnolssance it is better
that we should be few in number. The
other ships will await our return,
and at any rate we shall not be gone
long."
As our car approached the ground
we found ourselves near the tops ot
some lofty trees.
"This will do," srld Colonel Smith,
to the electrical steersman. "Stay
right here;"
He and I then lowered ourselves into
the branches of the trees, each carry
ing a small disintegrator, and cau
tiously clambered down to the ground.
We believed we were the first of the
descendants of Adam to set foot on
the planet of Mars.
TO BE CONTINUED.
How to Light a Pipe.
An old smoker gives the following
rules to secure a "good smoke." He
says: Keep pipe and stem as clean as
possible, and the time to clean them ls
Immediately after a smoke. Fill the
bowl with your favorite brand and
press down firmly, but don't strive to
see how solid you can pack It. If you
make it as solid as wood it will burn
like wood and make a coal Are about
as hot and ungrateful. Don't pull as
though you had no more matches and
feared It would "go out." Light a
small spot directly on the center.
Smoke slowly until it works its way
gradually downward. If it undertakes
to spread press it down again with
thumb or finger. A half minute's care
In starting Is all that le required. Now,
smoke slowly. The little fire continues
downward, delicately roasting the to
bacco on the sides, and presently, when
you cave this oft, there will come a
revelation In soft, mellow smoke, so
cool, so delicate, so soothing, that you
1 will never regret having read this.

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