Observers at Flagstaff have, therefore, practically seen the completion of a work which is the creation of intelligent beings on Mars; and in the remarkable photographs shown we were, so to speak, able to look upon the results of that work--fertility in a region which had previously been an arid desert.
The water, as the lecturer remarked, was probably not in all cases conveyed by means of canals dug out of the soil, but we know that in some way--whether by canals, or by trunk lines of pipes and smaller subsidiary pipes, or otherwise--the land has been artificially irrigated and fertilised by water, which could not possibly have taken the course it has without being intelligently directed. Tunnelling would be easy on Mars.
Professor Lowell spoke of these matters in well-weighed and well-chosen phrases, which carried conviction of his earnestness and sincerity to the minds of his hearers; and we observed that the audience was evidently profoundly impressed by the importance of his statements. This fact seemed to us very significant, as he was addressing one of the most brilliant assemblies--representing many branches of science--ever gathered within the walls of the Royal Institution. The numerous photographs showing the Martian canal lines were projected on to the screen by a lantern, and thus their convincing evidence was clearly brought before the whole of that vast audience.
Another very interesting series of photographs showed the coming and going of the first frost of the season in the antarctic regions of Mars. This frost was first observed and photographed at Flagstaff on the 16th November, 1909, and other photographs were taken on the 22nd of that month.
In connection with these, Professor Lowell quaintly remarked that, "To chronicle thus the very weather on our neighbour will convince any one that interplanetary communication has already commenced; and that, too, after the usual conventional manner by mundane greetings."
Referring to the photographs, it was pointed out that the human eye can see at least ten times as much as a photograph can show as regards planetary detail. This, though not generally known, is perfectly true, and it may be explained thus: We know that in terrestrial photography the camera will reveal many details which the eye is apt to overlook; and, by very long exposures, even celestial photography will give a similar result. In planetary photography, however, exposures must be very short, and the picture obtained is so very tiny that it cannot show all that the eye could see. Under good conditions, therefore, the eye at the telescope will always see immensely more of the finer details on a planet than any camera could show.
The great value of the photographs of Mars lies in the fact that they demonstrate beyond the possibility of doubt the existence of certain fine markings which many observers have seen and drawn, but as to the reality of which others, less skilled or less favourably situated, have been extremely sceptical. If the fine lines had no existence on the planet they could not be photographed.
In drawing attention to the details on these photographs Professor Lowell emphatically declared that, "The lines you see are 'certainties,' not matters admitting of the slightest question, for all their strange regularity. Not only I, but all my assistants, have seen them thousands of times the same, and sometimes with all the clearness and sharpness of etchings or steel engravings.
"An optical mistake," he then remarked, "which has latterly been hailed as showing that the lines were not lines but a series of dots, was made the other day in France. The observer saw perfectly correctly, but one with knowledge of the optics of a telescope should have known that the effect observed was the inevitable result of using an aperture which the seeing did not warrant; as he could easily have assured himself by looking at the shattered rings round the synchronous image of a star."
It may here be pointed out that these weighty and well-considered declarations--which are a complete answer to M. Antoniadi's bold claim--were made by the most experienced observer of Mars, who, as even his opponents admit, possesses the finest site in the world for his astronomical work, and is equipped with a very perfect instrument.
Besides the splendid photographs of Mars, many views of Jupiter and Saturn were shown, exhibiting clearly numerous fine details, markings, and wisps as to which much doubt had been expressed when some observers had shown them on their drawings. These beautiful and convincing results of the clever and original methods of planetary photography adopted at Flagstaff appeared to come as a complete revelation to the majority of those present, notwithstanding their scientific experience.
Probably never before had anything so wonderful as these results of skill, patience, and prolonged research been exhibited, even in that great and historic home of science. As Professor Lowell remarked in a fine peroration: "They exhibited something of the advance recently achieved in our knowledge of solar science; on the other hand, they constituted in themselves the beginning of a set of records in which the future of the planet might be confronted with its achieved past, and which should endure after those who first conceived such registry had long passed away.... They were histories of the planets written by themselves--their autobiographies penned by light; and in their grand historical portrait-gallery astronomers yet to come might see the earlier stages of the great cosmic drama which was slowly but surely working itself out!"
At the conclusion of this most interesting lecture M'Allister turned to me and said, "How I wish our old friend the Professor could have been here to-night; he would have keenly appreciated what we have heard."
"Yes, he would indeed," I answered; "but remember, he knows more now than any one we see here could tell him about Martian matters!"
Before concluding, it may be of interest to state that Professor Lowell still maintains the accuracy of the discovery made at Flagstaff that the existence of water vapour on Mars is demonstrated by the photographic spectrum of the Martian atmosphere; and he asserts that the attempt to disprove it has failed. A further discovery has since been made at the same observatory, viz. that oxygen also is present in the atmosphere of Mars!
During the observations in 1909 several observers noted that, at times, very large areas on the surface of Mars had been so obscured by a yellowish veiling that all details were entirely blotted out. The announcement of this fact gave rise to sensational statements that a terrible catastrophe had occurred on the planet. The explanation is, however, very simple--seasonal mists arising from the canals, with the addition of clouds of sand particles in the upper air, as the result of desert sandstorms, caused a temporary obscuration of certain parts of the planet as viewed from the earth. Only this, and nothing more!
We have been interested to note that an English observer, the Rev. Theodore E.R. Phillips, has observed some new details on Mars in the region where the new canals were discovered. Mr. Phillips has in past years given considerable attention to this region, and observed several changes in the Lacus Moeris, to the east of Syrtis Major. The lake disappeared altogether for some considerable time, then reappeared. Last September he saw it again, and it was evident some further changes had occurred; and he also saw some dusky shadings on the adjacent desert of Lybia. There seems little doubt but that he actually saw, though imperfectly, the new canals which Professor Lowell's much clearer atmosphere and larger instrument enabled him to see clearly.
From what has been related in the last few pages it will be seen that many of the forecasts, as set forth in this book by our old friend the Professor, and his statements as to the Martians being actively engaged in altering, extending, and developing their canal system, have been amply verified by the observations of our astronomers; and I am confident that his other prognostications will also be fulfilled in course of time.
Turning now from scientific matters to others affecting ourselves personally, I may say that I have heard nothing more of my cousins the Snayleyes; and, after the failure of their mean attempt upon my liberty and fortune, it is not likely that I shall again be troubled by them, for they will naturally take good care to keep out of my way.
As the days and weeks pass by I often think of those we left behind upon that far distant world: wondering how they are faring, and whether they have attempted to transmit any influences or communications to us, for up to the present we have not been conscious of any such influences.
Kenneth M'Allister is a thoroughly happy man, as he is working for his own benefit, congenially and fully occupied with matters connected with his beloved machinery. He is on the high road to making a very large fortune; indeed, we are both doing remarkably well, and are, therefore, able to give financial aid to many projects in which we are interested, having for their objects the uplifting of the people, and the improvement of social conditions generally. It was only yesterday that M'Allister remarked to me, "Heh, mon, if we continue to go ahead at the same rate as we are going now, we shall both be millionaires before very long!"
Yes, we are doing well--there is no doubt about that; but, notwithstanding my present very satisfactory circumstances and the certainty of a brilliant future if I stay here, ideas have long and persistently been running in my mind that it would be far better for me to go back to Mars, and--by Jove! strange indeed that I never thought of it before!--perhaps those very persistent ideas are actually the outcome of Martian influences!!
The wonderful music I heard upon Mars still rings in my ears; and, at times, so thrilling and peculiar is its effect upon me, that I feel as though I were being almost irresistibly impelled to return to that planet. Well, I should very much like to see the dear old Professor and Merna again, and also my many Martian friends. Then there's Siloni, whom I can never forget, for mentally her image is ever before me. What a nice girl she was! If I were to return to Mars, I wonder whether----?
Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO Edinburgh & London FOOTNOTES:.
 The exact diameters of the planets are difficult to measure owing to irradiation, and estimates of various authorities differ, especially with regard to the more distant planets.
 Most probably the larger planets possess satellites which have yet to be discovered.
 It is not yet ascertained with certainty whether Mercury and Venus rotate in about twenty-four hours, or whether the period is the same as that of their revolution round the sun. The evidence seems to point to the latter period.
 The "terminator" is the boundary between the lighted and the dark portion of the disc.
 Those who have seen the undercliff in the Isle of Wight will be able to form some idea of the terraces of the lunar ring-mountains, as they are very similar formations.
 This is the case as regards separate satellites; but it may be pointed out that a similar thing must occur in regard to the rings of Saturn. The rings are composed of swarms of satellites so small that they can only be termed particles, and these particles at the inner edge of the "crape ring" revolve round Saturn in 5 hours and 33 minutes, the inner edge of the ring being only about 47,000 miles from the centre of the planet. The planet itself revolves on its axis in 10-1/4 hours. Thus, an immense number of these minute satellites must revolve round the planet in less time than it takes the planet to make one rotation. It is calculated that the particles in the outer edge of the next ring complete one revolution round the planet in 14 hours and 28 seconds.
By Richard Wilson
Two slitted green eyes loomed up directly in front of him. He plunged into them immediately.
He had just made the voyage, naked through the dimension stratum, and he scurried into the first available refuge, to hover there, gasping.
The word "he" does not strictly apply to the creature, for it had no sex, nor are the words "naked," "scurried," "hover" and "gasping" accurate at all. But there are no English words to describe properly what it was and how it moved, except in very general terms. There are no Asiatic, African or European words, though perhaps there are mathematical symbols. But, because this is not a technical paper, the symbols have no place in it.
He was a sort of spy, a sort of fifth-columnist. He had some of the characteristics of a kamikaze pilot, too, because there was no telling if he'd get back from his mission.
Hovering in his refuge and gasping for breath, so to speak, he tried to compose his thoughts after the terrifying journey and adjust himself to his new environment, so he could get to work. His job, as first traveler to this new world, the Earth, was to learn if it were suitable for habitation by his fellow beings back home. Their world was about ended and they had to move or die.
He was being discomfited, however, in his initial adjustment. His first stop in the new world--unfortunately, not only for his dignity, but for his equilibrium--had been in the mind of a cat.
It was his own fault, really. He and the others had decided that his first in a series of temporary habitations should be in one of the lower order of animals. It was a matter of precaution--the mind would be easy to control, if it came to a contest. Also, there would be less chance of running into a mind-screen and being trapped or destroyed.
The cat had no mind-screen, of course; some might even have argued that she didn't have a mind, especially the human couple she lived with. But whatever she did have was actively at work, feeling the solid tree-branch under her claws and the leaves against which her tail switched and seeing the half-grown chickens below.
The chickens were scratching in the forbidden vegetable garden. The cat, the runt of her litter and thus named Midge, often had been chased out of the garden herself, but it was no sense of justice which now set her little gray behind to wriggling in preparation for her leap. It was mischief, pure and simple, which motivated her.
Midge leaped, and the visitor, who had made the journey between dimensions without losing consciousness, blacked out.
When he revived, he was being rocketed along in an up-and-down and at the same time side-ward series of motions which got him all giddy. With an effort he oriented himself so that the cat's vision became his, and he watched in distaste as the chickens scurried, scrawny wings lifted and beaks achirp, this way and that to escape the monstrous cat.
The cat never touched the chickens; she was content to chase them. When she had divided the flock in half, six in the pea patch and six under the porch, she lay down in the shade of the front steps and reflectively licked a paw.
The spy got the impression of reflection, but he was baffledly unable to figure out what the cat was reflecting on. Midge in turn licked a paw, rolled in the dust, arched her back against the warm stone of the steps and snapped cautiously at a low-flying wasp. She was a contented cat. The impression of contentment came through very well.
The dimension traveler got only one other impression at the moment--one of languor.
The cat, after a prodigious pink yawn, went to sleep. The traveler, although he had never known the experience of voluntary unconsciousness, was tempted to do the same. But he fought against the influence of his host and, robbed of vision with the closing of the cat's eyes, he meditated.
He had been on Earth less than ten minutes, but his meditation consisted of saying to himself in his own way that if he was ever going to get anything done, he'd better escape from this cat's mind.
He accomplished that a few minutes later, when there was a crunching of gravel in the driveway and a battered Plymouth stopped and a man stepped out. Midge opened her eyes, crept up behind a row of stones bordering the path to the driveway and jumped delicately out at the man, who tried unsuccessfully to gather her into his arms.
Through the cat's eyes from behind the porch steps, where Midge had fled, the traveler took stock of the human being it was about to inhabit: Five-feet-elevenish, thirtyish, blond-brown-haired, blue-summer-suited.
And no mind-screen.
The traveler traveled and in an instant he was looking down from his new height at the gray undersized cat. Then the screen door of the porch opened and a female human being appeared.
With the male human impressions now his, the traveler experienced some interesting sensations. There was a body-to-body togetherness apparently called "gimmea hug" and a face-to-face-touching ceremony, "kiss."
"Hmm," thought the traveler, in his own way. "Hmm."
The greeting ceremony was followed by one that had this catechism: "Suppareddi?"
Then came the "eating."
This eating, something he had never done, was all right, he decided. He wondered if cats ate, too. Yes, Midge was under the gas stove, chewing delicately at a different kind of preparation.
There was a great deal of eating. The traveler knew from the inspection of the mind he was inhabiting that the man was enormously hungry and tired almost to exhaustion.
"The damn job had to go out today," was what had happened. "We worked till almost eight o'clock. I think I'll take a nap after supper while you do the dishes."
The traveler understood perfectly, for he was a very sympathetic type. That was one reason they had chosen him for the transdimensional exploration. They had figured the best applicant for the job would be one with an intellect highly attuned to the vibrations of these others, known dimly through the warp-view, one extremely sensitive and with a great capacity for appreciation. Shrewd, too, of course.
The traveler tried to exercise control. Just a trace of it at first. He attempted to dissuade the man from having his nap. But his effort was ignored.
The man went to sleep as soon as he lay down on the couch in the living room. Once again, as the eyes closed, the traveler was imprisoned. He hadn't realized it until now, but he evidently couldn't transfer from one mind to another except through the eyes, once he was inside. He had planned to explore the woman's mind, but now he was trapped, at least temporarily.
Oh, well. He composed himself as best he could to await the awakening. This sleeping business was a waste of time.
There were footsteps and a whistling noise outside. The inhabited man heard the sounds and woke up, irritated. He opened his eyes a slit as his wife told the neighbor that Charlie was taking a nap, worn out from a hard day at the office, and the visitor, darting free, transferred again.
But he miscalculated and there he was in the mind of the neighbor. Irritated with himself, the traveler was about to jump to the mind of the woman when he was caught up in the excitement that was consuming his new host.
"Sorry," said the neighbor. "The new batch of records I ordered came today and I thought Charlie'd like to hear them. Tell him to come over tomorrow night, if he wants to hear the solidest combo since Muggsy's Roseland days."
The wife said all right, George, she'd tell him. But the traveler was experiencing the excited memories of a dixieland jazz band in his new host's mind, and he knew he'd be hearing these fantastically wonderful new sounds at first hand as soon as George got back to his turntable.
They could hardly wait, George and his inhabitant both.
His inhabitant had come from a dimension-world of vast, contemplative silences. There was no talk, no speech vibrations, no noise which could not be shut out by the turning of a mental switch. Communication was from mind to mind, not from mouth to ear. It was a world of peaceful silence, where everything had been done, where the struggle for physical existence had ended, and where there remained only the sweet fruits of past labor to be enjoyed.
That had been the state of affairs, at any rate, up until the time of the Change, which was something the beings of the world could not stop. It was not a new threat from the lower orders, which they had met and overcome before, innumerable times. It was not a threat from outside--no invasion such as they had turned back in the past. Nor was it a cooling of their world or the danger of imminent collision with another.
The Change came from within. It was decadence. There was nothing left for the beings to do. They had solved all their problems and could find no new ones. They had exhausted the intricate workings of reflection, academic hypothetica and mind-play; there hadn't been a new game, for instance, in the lifetime of the oldest inhabitant.
And so they were dying of boredom. This very realization had for a time halted the creeping menace, because, as they came to accept it and discuss ways of meeting it, the peril itself subsided. But the moment they relaxed, the Change started again.
Something had to be done. Mere theorizing about their situation was not enough. It was then that they sent their spy abroad.
Because they had at one time or another visited each of the planets in their solar system and had exhausted their possibilities or found them barren, and because they were not equipped, even at the peak of their physical development, for intergalactic flight, there remained only one way to travel--in time.
Not forward or backward, for both had been tried. Travel ahead had been discouraging--in fact, it had convinced them that their normal passage through the years had to be stopped. The reason had been made dramatically clear--they, the master race, did not exist in the future. They had vanished and the lower forms of life had begun to take over.
Travel into the past would be even more boring than continued existence in the present, they realized, because they would be reliving the experiences they had had and still vividly remembered, and would be incapable of changing them. It would be both tiresome and frustrating.
That left only one way to go--sideways in time, across the dimension line--to a world like their own, but which had developed so differently through the eons that to visit it and conquer the minds of its inhabitants would be worth while.
In that way they picked Earth for their victim and sent out their spy. Just one spy. If he didn't return, they'd send another. There was enough time. And they had to be sure.
George put a record on the phonograph and fixed himself a drink while the machine warmed up.
The interdimensional invader reacted pleasurably to the taste and instant warming effect of the liquor on George's mind.
"Ahh!" said George aloud, and his temporary inhabitant agreed with him.
George lifted the phonograph needle into the groove and went to sit on the edge of a chair. Jazz poured out of the speaker and the man beat out the time with his heels and toes.
The visitor in his mind experimented with control. He went at it subtly, at first, so as not to alarm his host. He tried to quiet the beating of time with the feet. He suggested that George cross his legs instead. The beating of time continued. The visitor urged that George do this little thing he asked; he bent all his powers to the suggestion, concentrating on the tapping feet. There wasn't even a glimmer of reaction.
Instead, there was a reverse effect. The pounding of music was insistent. The visitor relaxed. He rationalized and told himself he would try another time. Now he would observe this phenomenon. But he became more than just an observer.
The visitor reeled with sensation. The vibrations gripped him, twisted him and wrung him out. He was limp, palpitating and thoroughly happy when the record ended and George got up immediately to put on another.
Hours later, drunk with the jazz and the liquor, the visitor went blissfully to sleep inside George's mind when his host went to bed.
He awoke, with George, to the experience of a nagging throb. But in a few minutes, after a shower, shave and breakfast with steaming coffee, it was gone, and the visitor looked forward to the coming day.