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The Weiser signal. [volume] (Weiser, Idaho) 1890-1904, December 26, 1901, Image 6

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COPYRIGHT, 1698, BY GARRETT P SŒVÜb.
[Continued from last week ]
CHAPTER XV.
We passed over the curious, half
drowned continent known to terrestrial
astronomers as the region of Deucalion,
then across another sea or gulf, until
we found ourselves floating at a height
of perhaps five miles above a great con
tinental land, at least 3,000 miles broad
from east to west, and which I immedi
ately reooguized as tbat to which as
tronomers had given the various names
of Aeria, Edom, Arabia and Eden.
Here tbe spectacle became of breath
less interest.
"Wonderful! Wonderful!"
"Who could bave believed it!"
Such were the exclamations heard on
all sides.
When at first we were suspended
above Hellas, looking toward the north,
tbe northeast and tbe northwest, ws
bad seen at a distance some of these
great red regions and had perceived the
curious network of canals by which
they were intersected. But that was a
faroff and imperfect view.
Now, when we were near at band and
straight above one of these singular
lands, tbe magnificence of the panorama
surpassed belief. v -
Frorn the earth about a dozen of the
principal canals crossing tbe continent
beneath us had been perceived, but we
saw hnu(||pds, nay, tbonsands of them!
It waS.fc double system, intended both
for irrigation and for protection, and
far more marvelous in its completeness
thau the boldest speculative minds
among our astronomers had ever dared
to imagine.
"Ha, that's what I always said," ex
claimed a veteran from one of onr great
observatories. "Mars is red becanse its
■oil and its vegetation are red."
And oertainly appearances indicated
that he was right.
There were no green trees, and there
was no green grass. Both were red, uot
of n uniform red tint, bnt presenting an
immense variety of shades which pro
duced a most brilliant effeot, fairly daz
zling onr eyes.
Bnt what trees! And what grass!
And what flowers!
Our telescopes showed tbat 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. The trees are big for tbe
same reason that the men are, because
the planet is small, and they can grow
big without beooming too heavy to
stand."
Flushing in tbe sun on all sides were I
the roofs of metaljio buildings, which j
were evidently tbe only kind of edifices
tbat Mars possessed. At any rate, if
stouo and wood were employed in their
construction both were completely cov
ered with metallio plates.
This added immensely to tbe warlike
aspect of the planet, for warlike it j
Everywhere we recognized forti- .
was.
fled stations, glittering with an array
of the polished knobs of lightning ma
chines, such as we bail seen in the land
of Hellas.
From the laud of Edom, directly over
the equator«! the planet, we turned onr
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faces westward and, skirting tbe Mare
Erytrœum, arrived above tbe place
where the broad canal known as the In
dus empties into the sea
Before us and stretching away to
■ward tbe northwest now lay tho con
tinent of Chryse, a vast red land, oval
in outline and surrounded and crossed
by innumerable canals. Chryse was not
I
;
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Immense volumes ni black smoke.
less than 1,600 miles across and it, too,
evidently swarmed with giant inhab
itants.
adow of night lay upon tbo
But tbe.
greater pUW of tbe land of Chryse.
In onr raoWkteotion westward we had
outstripped tbe Enn and bad now arriv
ed at a point where day and night met
the surface of tbe planet beneath
upon
ns
Behind all was brilliant with sun
shine, but beforè' ns tbe face of Mars
gradually disappeared in tbe deepening
gtoom. Through tbe darkness far away
we could behold magnificent beams of
elect» 10 light darting across the curtain
of night and evidently serving to illu
minate towns and cities that lay be
neath.
We pushed on into the night for 200
or 300 miles over tbat part of tbe con
tinent of Cbryse whose inhabitants were
doubtless enjoying tbe deep sleep tbat
accompanies tbe dark hours immediate
ly preceding the dawn. Still every
where splendid clusters of light lay like
fallen constellations upon tbe ground,
indicating the sites of great towns,
which, like those of the earth, never
sleep.
But this scene, although weird and
beautiful, oould give ns little of the
kind of information we were in search
Of.
Accordingly it was resolved to turn
back eastward until we had arrived in
tbe twilight space separating day and
night, and then hover over the planet
at that point, allowing it to turn be
neath us so that, as we looked down,
we should see in sneoession the entire
circuit of the globe of Mars while it
rolled under our eyes.
The rotation of Mars on its axis is
performed in a period very little longer
than that of the earth's rotation, so that
tbe length of the day and night in the
world of Mars is only some 40 minutes
longer than their length upon the earth.
In thus remaining suspended over the
planet, on the line of daybreak, so to
speak, we believed that we should be
peculiarly safe from detection by the
eyes of tbe inhabitants. Even astrono
mers are not likely to be wide awake
just at the peep of dawn. Almost all of
the inhabitants, we confidently believed,
would still be sound asleep upon that
part of tbe planet passing directly be
neath us, and those who were awake
would not be likely to watch for unex
pected appearances in the sky.
Besides onr height was so great that
notwithstanding the numbers of the
squadron we oould not easily be seen
from the surface of the planet, and if
seen at all we might be mistaken for
high flying birds.
Here we remained then through the
entire oonrse of 24 bonrs and saw in
succession as they passed from night in
to day beneath onr feet the land of
Chryse, the great continent of Tharsis,
the ourions region of intersecting canals
which puzzled astronomers on tbe earth
had named the Gordian Knot, the con
tinental lands of Memnonia, Amazonia
and Æolia, the mysterious center where
hundreds of vast canals came together
from every direction, called the Trivinn
Charoutis; the vast circle of Elysium,
1,000 miles across, and completely sur
rounded by a broad green canal; the
continent of Libya, which, as 1 remem
bered, bad been bulf covered by a tre
meudousinundation, whose effects were
visible from tbe earth in the year 1889,
and finally the long, dark sea of tho
Syrtis Major, lying directly Bouth of
the laud of Hellas.
we all experienced were so great tbat
not one of us took a wink of sleep dur
ing the entire 24 hours of our marvelous
watch.
The excitement and interest which
There are one or two things of special
interest amid the multitude of wonder
ful observations that wo 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
saw the smaller laud of Ophir, in the
midst of which is a singular spot oalled
the Juventæ Fons, 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 in
credible marvels on the planet Mars.
Farther to the west, and north from
the groat continent of Tharsis, we be
held the immense oval shaped land of
Thaumasia, containing in its center the
celebrated Lake of the Sun, a circular
body of water not less than 600 miles in
diameter, with dozens of great canals
running away from it liko tbe spokes of
a wheel in every direotion, thus con
uecting it with the ocean which sur
rounds it on the south and cast and with
the still larger canals that encircle it
toward the north and west.
This Lake of the Sun came to play a
great part in our subsequent adventures.
It was evident to us from the beginning
tbat it was the chief center of popula
tion on the planet. It lies in latitude 25
degrees south and longitude ubout 90
degrees west.
Huving completed the oircuit of the
Martian globe we were moved by the
8ame feeling which every diseovorer of
u «w lands experiences and immediate
b' returned to our original place abovo
the land of Hellas, becauso since that
was the first part of Mars that we had
seen we felt a greater degree of famil
iar »ty with it than with any other por
Don of the planet, and there, in a cer
j tain sense, we felt "at home. "
Bnt, as it proved, our enemies were
on the watch for us there. We had al
j most forgotten them, so absorbed were
j " 0 hy the great spectacles that bad been
unrolling themselves beneath our feet.
We ought, of course, to have been a
(
I "ttle more cautions in approaching the
j P ] « ce . wher0 they first caught sight of
ns - slucc might have known that
they would remain on the watch near
tbat spot.
But at any rate they had seen ns, and
it was now too late to think of taking
them again by surprise.
They on their Dart had a surprise in
store for us which was greater than
any we had yet experienced.
We saw their ships, and from various
points on the ground beneath there rose
high in the air and carried by invisible
currents in every direction immense
volumes of black smoke, or vapor,
which blotted out of sight everything
below them.
South, north, west and east the our
tain of blackness rapidly spread, until
the whole face of the planet as far as
our eyes could reach and the airships
thronging under ns were all concealed
from sight.
Mars had played the game of the out
tlefish, which when pursued by its eue
mies darkens the water behind it by a
sudden ontgnsh of inky fluid, and thus
The eyes of man had never beheld
escapes the eye of its foe.
such a speotaclo.
Where a few minutes before the sun
nv face of a beautiful and populous
planet had been shining beneath ns
there was now to be seen nothing but
black, billowing clouds, swelling up
everywhere like the mouse colored
smoke that pours from a great transat
lantic liner when fresh ooal has just
been heaped upon her fires.
In some places the smoke spouted up
ward in huge jets to tbe height of sev
eral miles; elsewhere it eddied in vast
whirlpools of inky blackness.
Not a glimpse of tbe bidden world
beneath was anywhere to be seen.
Mars had put on its war mask and
fearful indeed was tbe aspect of it!
After tbe first pause of surprise the
squadron quickly backed away into the
sky, rising rapidly, because, from one
of tbe swirling eddies beneath us the
smoke began suddenly to pile itself up
in an euorinoas 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 fearing
it was something more than a shield for
tbe planet, and might be destructive to
life, we fled before it, as before tbe on
ward sweep of a pestilence.
Directly underneath the flagship, one
of the aspiring smoke peaks grew with j
most portentous swiftness, and, notwith- |
standing all onr efforts, in a little while
it had enveloped us. !
Several of us were standing on the
deck of the electrical ship. We were al
most stifled by the smoke and were
oompelled to take refuge within the car,
where, until the electrio lights had been
turned on, darkness so black that it op
pressed the strained eyeballs prevailed.
But in this brief experience, terrify
ing though it was, we had learned one
thing. The smoke would kill by strangu
lation, but evidently there was noth
ing specially poisonous in its nature.
This fact might be of no use to us in
onr subsequent proceedings.
"This spoils our plans," said the
commander. "There is no use of re
maining here for the present; let ns see
how far this thing extends."
At first we rose straight away to a
height of 200 or 300 miles, thus passing
entirely beyond the sensible limits of
tbe atmosphere and far above tbe high
est point tbat the smoke oonld reach.
From this commanding point of view
onr line of sight extended to an im
mense distance over the surface of Mars
in all directions. Everywhere the same
appearance—the whole planet was evi
dently covered with the smoke.
A complete telegraphic system evi
dently connected all the strategic points
upon Mars, so that, at a signal from
the central station, the wonderful
tain could be instantaneously drawn
over tbe entire faoe of tbe planet.
In order to make certain tbat no part
of Mars remained uncovered we dropped
down «gain nearer to tbe upper level of
tbe smoke clouds and then completely
circnmnavigated the planet. It was
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.
cur
away
But when we had arrived on that
side of Mars which was turned
from tbe sun we no longer saw beneath
us, as we had done on our previous visit
to the night hemisphere of the planet,
brilliant groups and clusters of electrio
light beneath us. All was dark.
In fact, so completely did the great
shell of smoke conceal the planet that
the pluoe occupied by tbe latter seemed
to be simply a vast black hole in the
firmament.
The sun was hidden behind it, and so
dense was the smoke that even the solar
rays were unable to penetrate it, and
consequently there was no atmospb&rio
halo visible around tho conoealed planet.
All tbe sky around was filled witli
stars, but tbeir countless host suddenly
disappeared when our eyes turned in
"Apparently we can do nothing
here, ''said Mr. Edison. "Letusreturn
to tho daylight side.
\\ hen we had arrived near the point
where we had been when the wonder
ful phenomenon first made its appear
auce, we paused, and then, at the sng
gestion of one of the chemists, dropped
close to the surface of tbe smoke cur
tain, which bad now settled down into
comparative quiescence, in order tbat
we might examino it a little more orit
ically.
The flagship was driven into the
smoke elend so deeply that for a min
nte wo were again enveloped in night,
A quuntity 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
uuublo to determine its preoise charac
ter, but they found that its density was
astonishingly slight. This accounted for
tho rapidity with which it had risen
and the great height which it had at
tained in the comparatively light at
mosphere of Mars.
"It is evident," said one of tbe chem
ists, "that this smoke does uot extend
down to tbe surface of the planet. From
\\-hat tbo- astronomer? say a? to tho
the direction of Mars. Tbe great black
globe blotted them out without being
visible itself.
density'of tile 'air on Mars it is proba
ble that a (dear space of at least a mile
in height exists between the surface of
Mars and the lower limit of the smoke
curtain. Just bow deep the latter is we
can only determine by experiment, but
it would not be surprising if the thick
ness 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 liuve dodged
out of sight, and I don't see why we
should uot dodge in and get at them. If
I you think, why couldn't the ships dart
down through the curtain and come to
j a close tackle with the Martians?"
j "It would not do at all," said the
commander. "We might simply run
| ourselves into en ambush No; we must
stay outside, and if possible fight them
there is clear air under the smoke, as
j from here."
j "They can't keep this thing up for
j ever, " said the officer. "Perhaps tbe
smoke will clear off after awhile, and
then we will have a chance. "
"Not niuoh hope of that, I arc
afraid," said the chemist who had orig
inally spoken. "This smoke oould re
main 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 snnshine
again. "
"All that is mere speculation," said
Mr. Edison. "Let us get at something
practical. We must do one of two
things—either attaok them shielded as
they are or wait until the smoke has
oleared away. The only other alterna
tive, that of plunging blindly down
through the curtain, is at present not
to be thought of. "
"I am afraid we couldn't stand a
very long siege ourselves," suddenly
remarked tbe 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, yon see," said the com
missary, stammering, "onr provisions
wouldn't hold out."
" Wouldn't bold out?" exclaimed Mr.
Edison in astonishment. "Why, we have
compressed and prepared provisions
enough to last this squadron for three
years."
"We had, sir, when we left the
earth, " said the commissary in appar
eut distress, "but I am sorry to say
that something has happoned."
"Something has happened! Explain
yourself."
CHAPTER XVI.
"I don't know what it is, but on in
specting some of the compressed stores
a short time ago I found that a large
number of them were destroyed, whether
through leakage of air or what I am
unable to say. I sent to inquire as to
the condition of the stores in the other
ships in tbe squadron, and I found that
a similar condition of things prevailed
there.
"The fact is," continued the commis
sary, "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 uot report this before?"
demanded Mr. Edison.
"Because, sir," was tbe reply, "the
discovery was not made until after we
arrived close to Mars, and since then
there has been so much excitement that
I Lave hardly had time to make an in
vestigation and find out what the precise
condition of affairs is. Besides, I thought
we should laud upon tbe planet, and
then we would be able to renew our sup
plies. "
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 said, "then it will
become necessary for ns to act quickly,
Evidently we cannot wait for the smoke
to clear off, even if there were any hope
of its clearing. We must get down on
Mars now, having conquered it first, if
possible; but any way we must get down
there in order to avoid starvation.
"It is very lucky," he continued,
"that we have ten duys' supply left. A
great deal can be done in ten days. "
A few hours after this the commander
called me aside and said:
"I have thought it all out. I am go
ing to reoonstrnot some of onr disinte
grators so as to increase their range and
their power. Then I am going to have
some of the astronomers of the expedi
tion locate for me the most vulnerable
points upon the planet, where the popu
lation is densest and a hard blow would
have the most effeot, and I am going to
pound away at them through the smoke
and see whether we oannot draw them
out of their shell. "
With his expert assistants Mr. Edison
set to work at once to transform a num
her of the di integrators into still more
formidable engines of the same descrip
tiou. One cf these new weapons having
been distributed to each of tbemembors
of the squadron, the next problem was
fco decide where to strike,
When we first examined the surface
of tho planet, it will be remembered
that wo had regarded the Lake of the
Sun ant j jj; S environs as being the very
focus of tbe planet. While it might al
so be a strong point of defense, yet an
effective blow struck there would go to
the enemy's heart and be more likely to
bring tho Martians promptly to terms
than anything else,
The first thing, then, was to locate
the Lake of the Sou on the smoke hid
den surface of the planet beneath ns.
This was a problem that tbo astrono
mers could readily solve.
Fortunately in the flagship itself
there was one of these star gazing gen
tlemen who had made a specialty of the
study of Mars. That planet, as I have
already explained, was now in opposi
tion to the earth. Tbe astronomer bad
records in his Docket which ennhlpd
(CoiitinucU
Li^tiUi i'uge.)

JkA.
■4~k,
Presents for everybody.


>
Presents —That you can rely on for they will last.
Presents —That costs you less than poor quali.y goods some
times do.
Presents— Tliat are made by reliable manufactur
Presents —That have my personal guarantee behind them also.
Presents —That have withstood test of time and competition.
Presents— That are not misrepresented as to quality, etc.
Presents —-That if wearing quality is not as guaranted, money
refunded.
Remember—As the present given wears so will it be appre
ciated.
Remember —A reliable present costs no more when bought
from a reliable house thau the cheap imitation
elsewhere.
Remember —All goods bought of me are prizes in themselves,
as they will give entire satisfaction.
are not paying for something you won't get.
pay cash for all my goods and give you the
benefit of the discount.

ers.
>


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