I Make A Most Amazing Discovery
From: To Mars Via The Moon
I was so utterly taken aback at this most unexpected greeting in my own
native language by one who was apparently the chief inhabitant of this
other world that I found it very difficult to collect my thoughts and
make a suitable reply.
I know I stammered out something; but, really, the more I tried to speak
coherently the more confused I became. This was indeed a very bad
beginning for a visitor from a distant world who wished to show to the
best advantage in such an august presence, and before such a great
assemblage of the people; but it is useless to attempt to conceal the
truth, however humiliating it may be. Observing my embarrassment,
however, the high personage smiled upon me pleasantly and, after saying
a few reassuring words, he gave a signal to the two officials, so we
moved aside for John and M'Allister to approach him.
The people, who had remained perfectly silent during this interview-if
it can be dignified by that term-now burst out into a volume of
acclamation; but I must say that never upon our earth had I seen a
multitude so orderly. Everything seemed to be arranged and carried out
with military precision, yet I saw no one with arms or weapons nor
anything indicating the presence of either military or police. A few
individuals, indeed, seemed to be giving some directions; but whatever
movements were made by the people were accomplished without crowding,
pushing, or jostling.
The Martians, too, evidently possessed fine artistic tastes and ideas,
as well as excellent judgment for colour effects. Colour was apparent in
great variety in the dresses of both sexes, yet nothing looked tawdry or
overdone; for the whole mass presented a perfect and harmonious blending
of tints; while the designs on the banners were most artistic and
effective, many of the devices being of an astronomical character.
Whilst I was thus engaged in observing the people, one of the officials
respectfully saluted me and made a sign that I was to accompany him. I
bowed and turned in the direction he indicated, when he conducted me to
one of the pavilions near the dais, motioned me to pass through the
doorway, then, gravely saluting again, turned and went away.
On entering I found the pavilion fairly large and chastely decorated,
but it had only one occupant, who rose and saluted as I entered. He was
a splendidly built young man, with a radiant countenance, and when he
advanced towards me with both hands outstretched, as the other high
personage had done, I noticed the same peculiar soft and luminous glow
in his eyes that I had observed in the other Martians.
As he took my hands within his, the young man looked straight into my
eyes, his own beaming with pleasure: then said in English, "Welcome,
sir, most welcome to Mars!"
As he stood gazing at me and I at him, something in his features struck
me as being familiar. Where had I seen a face like that before? Then
suddenly my thoughts flew back to a long-buried past. Gracious heavens!
I must be dreaming-it can never be! Still he gazed intently into my
eyes, seeming to penetrate my very soul; then I saw his expression
change into one of ineffable tenderness, and a beautiful smile rippled
over his face.
All doubt was now at an end; this was indeed no dream, no hallucination.
I had seen that face before-seen those features in a less glowing and
glorified form than that in which they now shone upon me, and I knew
where I had seen them!
Something, which I had vaguely imagined might just be within the bounds
of possibility, was now proved to be not only possible, but an
Memories of the past rushed over me like swelling waves, and I seemed
swept away by their surging billows. I gazed and gazed, in almost
incredulous wonder, at that glorious being who stood there regarding me
with an expression of ineffable affection; and my heart seemed to melt
within me as the re-awakened love for a long-lost form stirred every
fibre of my body and thrilled me through and through. Then, overwhelmed
by the intensity of my emotions, I threw myself into his arms, crying
aloud, "Oh, Mark! my boy! my boy!"
Next: What Is In A Name!-the Story Of Merna
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