The World At The Feet Of Doctor Jones
From: Doctor Jones' Picnic
The following morning our friends were up be-times and were soon engaged
in the busiest day of their lives. The wind was still unfavorable for
their passage to Washington, and they abandoned themselves to the
numerous duties that pressed upon them, and hospitalities of the
friendly Gothamites. Messages almost innumerable and visitors by
thousands poured in upon them. Mrs. Jones, Mattie, and Denison acted as
secretaries for Dr. Jones, while Will and Fred performed the same office
for Professor Gray. Reporters by scores besieged them at all hours. The
Doctor disposed of these importunate visitors by appointing an hour when
he met them in a body in a private room, and there answered their
numerous questions. At three o'clock P.M. the mayor called, and through
a private exit the whole party was led to carriages, and shown a
considerable portion of the better part of the city. They drove to the
globe and found it surrounded by thousands of admirers. Silver Cloud
proudly floated above them, gently oscillating in the breeze, slightly
bowing to the right and left, as if complacently acknowledging the
admiration and praises of its visitors.
The carriages were driven as near as possible to the globe. Will and
Denison worked their way to the cage and ascended to the cabin. The vast
throng watched this proceeding with intense interest, and made the
welkin ring with their shouts as the two men safely entered the manhole.
They examined the thermometer, trimmed the burners that were necessary
to be kept alight, wound up the motor springs, and then descended with a
rapidity that caused the spectators to hold their breaths.
After several hours' driving, during which time the mayor pointed out
many objects of interest, they were driven to their hotel and left to
rest and prepare for the evening's entertainment. They had been
informed that the largest building in the city had been engaged, and the
whole party of Arctic explorers were earnestly requested to meet the
public that evening in said building. This they consented to do. There
was not the slightest snobbishness about Dr. Jones, or it certainly
would have manifested itself now when the world was at his feet. But the
little man was as kind and unaffectedly friendly now as ever in his
life. He was a close student of human nature too, and thoroughly
understood that they were fully capable of crying "Hosannah!" to-day,
and "Crucify him! crucify him!" to-morrow. Human nature is not different
from what it was thousands of years ago. It is no better and no worse.
Unregenerate man is out of harmony with his Maker; and being possessed
of a finite mind, he can never be right, do right, nor keep right until
he places himself unreservedly into God's hands.
"Just as I am, without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God! I come."
"When I would do good, evil is ever present with me," was St. Paul's
experience. It is yours and it is mine, gentle reader. There is no
escape from it, except through the blood of Christ. Then shall we commit
all our ways unto Him, and shall never be moved. This is the one great
cause of man's inconstancy. He is constantly seeking after that which
shall satisfy the cravings of his never dying soul, but refuses the
light which God gives him. He sips from every cup of worldly pleasure,
and madly rushes after the sensation of the hour, be it good or bad. One
after the other, they pall upon his wearied senses, and he dashes them
from his lips in disgust. Happy alone is he who listens to that Voice,
'Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.'
That evening, before many thousands of people, our friends did what they
could to please them. They sang as they never had done in their lives.
It is unnecessary to say that their efforts were received with
tremendous rounds of encores by the delighted host. The music was
interspersed with appropriate speeches from the mayor and other civic
dignitaries. They all spoke in unlimited terms of praise of the man who
had conceived the idea of the aluminum globe, and who had had the
courage of his convictions. He had added undying glory to the land that
bore him, and now that land delighted to honor him by every means within
her power, etc.
The Doctor and Professor each spoke at some length, giving the history
of the expedition and the importance of it to the scientific world. The
Doctor told them of the planting of the aluminum flagstaff in terse,
graphic language, and concluded by saying:
"And now friends, we will conclude the evening's performance by giving
you an exact representation of how we marched about the flagstaff and
sang Professor Marsh's composition, 'The North Pole March.' You must
imagine the thermometer sixty or more degrees below zero in order to
appreciate the scene."
A fair representation of the foot of the flagstaff had been improvised,
and the stage was made to look like a field of snow and ice. In a circle
about the pole were set vessels of burning oil. Within this circle the
friends marched to the beautiful music that Fred played upon the
aluminum organ (for even that instrument had been brought by Denison and
Will from the globe, that the scene might lack nothing in realism.)
And so real was the scene as they marched in their sealskin suits--poor
Sing among them, though he could not sing--and so inspiring was the
music, that the vast assemblage sat still as death, every sense strained
to the highest tension, that they might not lose a movement nor note.
When they finished, the shout that went up was a tremendous lungburst
that was simply deafening. Men, women, and children jumped upon their
feet, waved their handkerchiefs, and screamed and shouted themselves
hoarse. Nor would they cease until the lights had all been turned low,
and they realized that the Children of the Skies would appear no more
that night. They had improved the opportunity while the multitude thus
encored to make their escape in their carriages to the hotel.
"I don't know, Doctor, but you will be responsible for many cases of
lunacy among our people," said the mayor. "I never saw them so utterly
carried away as they were with your company and the globe. All you have
to do is to take to the stage and you can bankrupt the nation."
After a quiet supper with a select party of notables of the city, our
friends were permitted to retire for the night.
"I am anxious to get on to Washington. This is very pleasant, but I much
prefer the cabin of Silver Cloud, with you, my dear friends, to all this
hustling, cramming, and jambing. The people are kind as they can be, and
are doing everything for our comfort and pleasure, but I never could
endure being crowded. Give me plenty of elbow room or give me death!"
cried Dr. Jones.
"Who would have thought that our march about the pole would make such a
sensation!" said Mrs. Jones. "Your North Pole March will make your
fortune, Fred. You should immediately copyright and publish it. You
could sell thousands of copies to-morrow."
"All right, Mrs. Jones; I will profit by your suggestion," answered
Fred, gayly. "Dear old Silver Cloud is making us all famous and rich.
Strike while the iron's hot;' 'Make hay while the sun shines;' etc. My
next attempt will be the Silver Cloud Waltz. This is the tide in my
affairs, and I must be thrifty enough to take it at its flood."
On the following morning after breakfast it was observed that the wind
was from the nor-nor-east, or nearly exactly toward their destination.
"Shall we sail to-day, or accept further hospitalities of New York?"
asked Dr. Jones of the company. The unanimous decision was that they
The mayor was telephoned that they would sail within one or two hours,
the wind being favorable. A few moments later that gentleman appeared in
the parlor where they were sitting and said hastily:
"My dear Doctor, we cannot let you go to-day. We have a splendid program
laid out for you, and our people will be greatly disappointed if you do
not stop at least another day. Besides, great excursions by steamers
and rail are expected to-morrow. We cannot let you off for two or three
"My dear sir, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to remain as
long as you desire. But my commands are peremptory from Washington to
report there at the earliest practicable moment. So I really have no
option in the matter, and must sail this very morning," replied Dr.
"Such being the case, Doctor, I am too good a citizen to urge you to
disobey orders. We will say no more about it, but thank you for the
pleasure you have given us, and wish you 'Bon Voyage.'"
"You may do better than that, sir. We should be exceedingly pleased to
have you and your family accompany us to Washington. We can promise you
the sensation and pleasure of your lifetime," returned the Doctor.
"O do come, sir!" cried Mrs. Jones. "Bring your family and give them the
greatest treat this world affords."
"I will consult them, immediately. But I fear that they are poor
sailors, and can hardly be persuaded to venture a trip in an air-ship."
"I will see that they do not suffer from seasickness," said the Doctor.
"Prevail upon them to come if possible, for I know you will never regret
it. Now shall we remain here, or meet you at the globe?"
"Remain here, please, and I will return with all possible expedition."
A half hour later he returned with his wife and two daughters, the
latter being stylish, lovely girls of about Mattie's age. All three were
in a state of more or less nervousness and trepidation at the idea of a
sail through the sky, and yet they could not resist the desire to go.
"O Mrs. Jones! Miss Bronson! don't you feel awfully frightened away up
there, thousands of feet from the earth?" asked one of the girls.
"Not the least bit!" replied Mrs. Jones. "So far from that, will you
believe me, I feel better and fully as safe in the cabin of our Silver
Cloud, five thousand feet from the earth, as I do in this parlor."
"Do you hear that, mamma?" cried the elder girl. "And what an
appropriate, beautiful name--Silver Cloud. Well, I am determined to be
a good sailor, and enjoy this trip as I never did anything in my life."
"I will meet you within an hour at the ship," said the mayor. "I must
attend to some business before I can go," and he hurried away.
An hour later they were all standing upon the balcony of Silver Cloud,
excepting Will and Denison. They were standing by the spring motors to
hoist and stow the anchors.
The news had spread that the great globe was about to sail, and people
were rushing by thousands to witness its departure. The signal was
given, and Silver Cloud arose so majestically and beautifully above the
great city that the people roared like another Niagara at the
transcendently glorious spectacle! It rose to the height of eight
hundred feet, and moved rapidly toward the southwest. They maintained
this comparatively low altitude on account of their visitors manifesting
symptoms of extreme terror, especially the young ladies. But Mrs. Jones
and Mattie soothed and petted them, and assured them so positively of
their perfect safety that by degrees they became quiet, and in a short
time were enjoying the scenery, and watching through their glasses the
main objects of interest.
"Mrs. Jones." said the mayor's wife, "I do not wonder that you prefer
the cabin of this ship to the parlor of our grandest city hotel. This is
the most inspiring scene I ever witnessed, and one that I should never
grow tired of. How cool and pure this atmosphere is! I am sure that
nothing could add to the beauty of the scenery or your splendid ship."
"O madam! but you should have seen Silver Cloud before we robbed her of
her chief ornament, the flagstaff. That was her glory, as a fine head of
hair is a woman's," replied Dr. Jones, who had overheard the lady's
remark. "I shall never be satisfied until we have replaced it."
The ship, meantime, was hastening at a forty mile gait toward the
Capital. The trip was one long thrill of excitement and pleasure to the
visitors. The Doctor had settled all symptoms of nausea with his
well-selected remedies, and nothing more could be desired to add to
their pleasure and comfort.
At the hour of noon they sat down to lunch. They ate but little, the
excitement having more or less destroyed their appetites. But they sat a
considerable time at the table and talked animatedly upon various
topics; principally, though, of the ship and their voyage to and from
the Pole. The ladies could not sufficiently admire and praise the
beauty, cleanliness, and comfort of the cabin.
Fred was seated beside Grace, the younger of the sisters, and they were
discussing music. She praised his North Pole March in unstinted terms,
until he blushed to the ears with delight. She and her elder sister,
Rose, were musicians of a high order, and had graduated at the leading
musical conservatories of America. They had besides spent several years
in Europe in the pursuit of knowledge in that line. Fred asked Grace to
promenade the balcony with him. She immediately accepted the
proposition, and they were soon oblivious to the world in the discussion
of their favorite theme--music. No doubt the inspiring scene below and
all about them drew out all the finer sentiments of their beings. And
what could two handsome, heartwhole, sentimental young beings do but
"Not over the balustrade!"
O no! but into love!
The whole company now came out upon the balcony, and they slowly
promenaded about the four sides of the cabin. We cannot describe the
witchery and beauty of the fast-flying panorama below. Our pen falters,
and the picture must be left to the imagination of the reader.
The mayor was very familiar with the topography of the country, and
pointed out the various rivers, mountain ranges, cities, towns, etc.
About three o'clock the capitol buildings, Washington monument, and
other tall structures about the city hove in sight. They were
immediately seen, for the great guns in all the forts about the city
fired thundering salutes.
"They are loaded to the muzzle for us, Doctor," said Professor Gray.
"It appears so," he replied. "I only wish it was all over with."
"What park is that?" he asked a few moments later, pointing to one that
lay directly in their course. The Professor mentioned its name, and
thought it a very convenient place for anchorage. Accordingly, Silver
Cloud swooped down upon it with a velocity that fairly took away the
breath of the mayor and family. A few moments later, Silver Cloud was
safely anchored, after her voyage of many thousands of miles, at her
starting point. In a little less than four months they had made the most
extraordinary trip known in the world's history, that of Columbus not
excepted, and were now safely returned!
Two by two they descended to earth, and, as in New York, carriages
awaited them. Evidently preparations for their reception had been made
upon a colossal scale. The air was thundering and riven with the voices
of the innumerable hosts, brass bands on every hand in full blast, so
that it was impossible to hear a word said by the nearest neighbor.
The police, fire, and military forces were out in full strength. The
voyagers, mayor of New York and family, were seated in landaus, and with
ropes the girls of all the public schools, each dressed in pure white
and bearing in her hand an American flag, drew the vehicles through the
principal streets of the city. Each of the little maids wore upon her
bare head a chaplet of flowers, and the scene was one of indescribable
beauty. And as they walked they sang in sweetest harmony,
"See, the conquering hero comes."
Dr. Jones was affected to tears at this sight, and could scarcely
contain himself. At last the procession stopped before the grand central
entrance of the capitol building. Upon the top steps they were met by
the President and his cabinet, many members of both houses, though
Congress was not in session at this season. Ministers and
plenipotentiaries from nearly every court in the world were also there.
Judges, statesmen, and journalists were in attendance by scores. Nothing
was left undone that could in any way add to the honor and glory of the
hero of the day. The modesty and unaffected dignity with which he
received it all, clothed him as with a garment, and was a marvel to even
those who knew him best.
But it would prove tedious to the reader if we were to relate in detail
all the speech-making and public receptions tendered our friends. The
Doctor and Professor before vast audiences told the story of their
journey, the planting of the pole, the scientific value of observations
made by Professor Gray, etc. The concert and North Pole March were
rendered several times.
In a week or so the furore began to subside, and the company were glad
to settle down to a comparatively quiet life in a large furnished house,
which the Doctor rented. Callers were coming and going continually
during several hours daily, and invitations to parties, dinners,
concerts, operas, etc., were very numerous. The mayor and family
returned to New York after spending a week with the friends. They
declared that they envied them their trip to the South Pole, and should
never be satisfied until they had enjoyed another sail in Silver Cloud.
The Doctor and Professor were kept very busy in consultation with
governmental officials and scientific men. The naval and military
departments were especially interested in the probabilities and
possibilities of the use of air-ships in warfare. An arrangement was
made to take a party of military men on a trip in Silver Cloud. A very
successful and brilliant voyage of several hundreds of miles to the
south and return was made, during which the Doctor actually encountered
an opportunity to exemplify his theory as to air currents. While they
were driving rapidly south at an altitude of but four or five hundred
feet, he rapidly rose several thousand feet and encountered a splendid
northerly current that carried them back to their starting point in a
way that pleased the little man wonderfully well. This was a great
triumph for the Doctor, and impressed the governmental party as of vast
importance, and added immensely to the effectiveness of the ship in the
art of war.
The Government made Will a very liberal offer to act as architect and
constructor of another ship similar to Silver Cloud, with such
improvements as experience had suggested to him. He accepted the offer,
and would enter upon his duties immediately after their return from the
South Pole. The Government had immediately acquiesced to their
proposition to seek the South Pole, and even urged that they get out as
soon as possible. The aluminum pole, a fac-simile of the one already
planted, was being constructed.
One day, a month after their return, Mrs. Jones and Mattie were summoned
to the parlor at an early hour for callers. They found there a large
elderly gentleman and two ladies.
"O Mattie!" cried the younger, "don't you know us?"
"Why! is it possible that you are our friends from Constance House? It
is, Maggie, it is! And this is Jennie Barton!"
"I declare that I was never so surprised and delighted in my life! Can
this be Mrs. Barton?" And then such kissing and handshaking.
"And how do you do, Mrs. Barton? I would not have known you. How you
have improved!" And Mrs. Jones scanned her face very critically. "Are
you entirely recovered?"
"She is so much better that we no longer consider her an invalid. But I
was desirous that the Doctor should see her again, and so we have come
down. We were in Montreal when I saw in a paper an account of your
return to Washington. That was the first we had heard of you since you
sailed from Constance House, and you can well believe that we were
exceedingly pleased to hear of your safe return. So we made up our minds
that we would run down and see you at once," said Mr. Barton.
After they had conversed a few moments and had inquired after Joe and
Sam, Mrs. Jones conducted them to two chambers, insisting that they must
be her guests while in the city.
The Doctor and other members of the party were delighted to met the
Bartons. Dr. Jones was well pleased with the progress that Mrs. Barton
had made. He considered her cure but a question of a short time, but
insisted, in order that no chances might be incurred, that she should
remain during the winter at Washington. He did not anticipate that they
would be gone more than thirty days on their South Pole expedition, and
certainly not more than two months. And so they arranged that they
should stay at least until the return of the expedition.
"And that settles it that we are to remain here until next summer, for
it is very late even now for us to return to Constance House. So I will
write the boys to that effect, and shall settle down to the study of
American politics," said John Barton.
Next: Ho! For The South Pole!
Previous: Familiar Scenes And Faces