Hills And Valleys


With the first light they resumed their journey, and an hour

after setting out they sighted, as Cortlandt had predicted,

another cloud of vapour. The fall--for such it proved to be--was

more beautiful than the other, for, though the volume of water

was not so great, it fell at one leap, without a break, and at

the same tremendous speed, a distance of more than a thousand

feet. The canon rang with the echoes, while th
spray flew in

sheets against the smooth, glistening, sandstone walls. Instead

of coming from a river, as the first fall had, this poured at

once from the rocky lip, about two miles across, of a lake that

was eleven hundred feet above the surging mass in the vale below.

"It is a thousand pities," said Bearwarden, "that this cataract

has got so near its source; for, at the rate these streams must

cut, this one in a few hundred years, unless something is done to

prevent it, will have worn back to the lake, and then good-bye to

the falls, which will become a series of rapids. Perhaps the

first effect will be merely to reduce by a few feet the height of

the falls, in which case they will remain in practically the same


About the shores of this lake they saw rhinoceroses with long

thick wool, and herds of creatures that much resembled buffaloes.

"I do not see," said Bearwarden, "why the identical species

should not exist here that till recently, in a geological sense,

inhabited the earth. The climate and all other conditions are

practically the same on both planets, except a trifling

difference in weight, to which terrestrials would soon adapt

themselves. We know by spectroscopic analysis that hydrogen,

iron, magnesium, and all our best-known substances exist in the

sun, and even the stars, while the earth contains everything we

have found in meteorites. Then why make an exception of life,

instead of supposing that at corresponding periods of development

the same living forms inhabit all? It would be assuming the

eternal sterilization of the functions of Nature to suppose that

our earth is the only body that can produce them."

"The world of organic life is so much more complex," replied

Cortlandt, "than that of the crystal, that it requires great

continuity. So far we certainly have seen no men, or anything

like them, not even so much as a monkey, though I suppose,

according to your reasoning, Jupiter has not advanced far enough

to produce even that."

"Exactly," replied Bearwarden, "for it will require vast periods;

and, according to my belief, at least half the earth's time of

habitability had passed before man appeared. But we see Jupiter

is admirably suited for those who have been developed somewhere

else, and it would be an awful shame if we allowed it to lie

unimproved till it produces appreciative inhabitants of its own,

for we find more to admire in one half-hour than its entire

present population during its lifetime. Yet, how magnificent

this world is, and how superior in its natural state to ours!

The mountainous horns of these crescent-shaped continents protect

them and the ocean they enclose from the cold polar marine

currents, and in a measure from the icy winds; while the elevated

country on the horns near the equator might be a Garden of Eden,

or ideal resort. To be sure, the continents might support a

larger population, if more broken up, notwithstanding the

advantage resulting from the comparatively low mountains along

the coasts, and the useful winds. A greater subdivision of land

and water, more great islands connected by isthmuses, and more

mediterraneans joined by straits, would be a further advantage to

commerce; but with the sources of power at hand, the resistless

winds and water-power, much increased in effectiveness by their

weight, the great tides when several moons are on the same side,

or opposite the sun, internal heat near the surface, and abundant

coal-supply doubtless already formed and also near the surface,

such small alterations could be made very easily, and would serve

merely to prevent our becoming rusty.

"As Jupiter's distance from the sun varies from 506,563,000 miles

at aphelion to only 460,013,000 at perihelion, this difference,

in connection with even the slight inclination of the axis, must

make a slight change in seasons, but as the inclination is

practically nothing, almost the entire change results from the

difference in distance. This means that the rise or fall in

temperature is general on every degree of latitude, all being

warmed simultaneously, more or less, as the planet approaches or

departs from the sun. It means also that about the same

conditions that Secretary Deepwaters suggested as desirable for

the earth, prevail here, and that Jupiter represents, therefore,

about the acme of climate naturally provided. On account of its

rapid rotation and vast size, the winds have a tornado's

strength, but they are nothing at this distance from the sun to

what they would be if a planet with its present rate of rotation

and size were where Venus or even the earth is. In either of

these positions no land life with which we are acquainted could

live on the surface; for the slope of the atmospheric isobars--i.

e., the lines of equal barometric pressure that produce wind by

becoming tilted through unequal expansion, after which the air,

as it were, flows down-hill--would be too great. The ascending

currents about the equator would also, of course, be vastly

strengthened; so that we see a wise dispensation of Providence in

placing the large planets, which also rotate so rapidly, at a

great distance from the sun, which is the father of all winds,

rotation alone, however rapid, being unable to produce them."

They found this lake was about six times the size of Lake

Superior, and that several large and small streams ran into its

upper end. These had their sources in smaller lakes that were at

slightly higher elevations. Though the air was cool, the sun

shone brightly, while the ground was covered with flowers

resembling those of the northern climes on earth, of all shapes

and lines. Twice a day these sent up their song, and trees were

covered with buds, and the birds twittered gaily. The streams

murmured and bubbled, and all things reminded the travellers of

early morning in spring.

"If anything could reconcile me," said Bearwarden, "to exchange

my active utilitarian life for a rustic poetical existence, it

would be this place, for it is far more beautiful than anything I

have seen on earth. It needs but a Maud Muller and a few cows to

complete the picture, since Nature gives us a vision of eternal

peace and repose."

Somehow the mention of Maud Muller, and the delicate and refined

flowers, whose perfume he inhaled, brought up thoughts that were

never far below the surface in Ayrault's mind. "The place is

heavenly enough," said he, "to make one wish to live and remain

here forever, but to me it would be Hamlet with Hamlet left out."

"Ah! poor chap," said Cortlandt, "you are in love, but you are

not to be pitied, for though the thrusts at the heart are sharp,

they may be the sweetest that mortals know."

The following morning they reluctantly left the picturesque

shores of Lake Serenity, with their beautiful tints and foliage,

and resumed the journey, to explore a number of islands in the

ocean in the west, which were recorded on their negatives.

Ascending to rarefied air, they saw great chains of mountains,

which they imagined ran parallel to the coast, rising to

considerable altitudes in the east. The tops of all glistened

with a mantle of snow in the sunlight, while between the ridges

they saw darker and evidently fertile valleys. They passed,

moving northwest, over large and small lakes, all evidently part

of the same great system, and continued to sweep along for

several days with a beautiful panorama, as varying as a

kaleidoscope, spread beneath their eyes. They observed that the

character of the country gradually changed. The symmetrically

rounded mountains and hills began to show angles, while great

slabs of rock were split from the faces. The sides also became

less vertical, and there was an accumulation of detrital

fragments about their bases. These heaps of fractured stone had

in some cases begun to disintegrate and form soil, on which there

was a scant growth of vegetation; but the sides and summits,

whose jaggedness increased with their height, were absolutely


"Here," said Cortlandt, "we have unmistakable evidence of frost

and ice action. The next interesting question is, How recently

has denudation occurred? The absence of plant life at the

exposed places," he continued, as if lecturing to a class, "can

be accounted for here, as nearer the equator, by the violence of

the wind; but I greatly doubt whether water will now freeze in

this latitude at any season of the year, for, even should the

Northern hemisphere's very insignificant winter coincide with the

planet's aphelion, the necessary drop from the present

temperature would be too great to be at all probable. If, then,

it is granted that ice does not form here now, notwithstanding

the fact that it has done so, the most plausible conclusion is

that the inclination of Jupiter's axis is automatically changing,

as we know the earth's has often done. There being nothing

incompatible in this view with the evidence at hand, we can

safely assume it correct for the time being at least. When

farther south, you remember, we found no trace of ice action,

notwithstanding the comparative slowness with which we decided

that the ridges in the crust had been upheaved on account of the

resisting power of gravity, and, as I see now, also on account of

Jupiter's great mass, which must prevent its losing its heat

anything like as fast as the earth has, in which I think also we

have the explanation of the comparatively low elevation of the

mountains that we found we could not account for by the power of

gravitation alone.[2] From the fact that the exposed surface

farther south must be old, on account of the slow upheaval and

the slight wear to which it is exposed, about the only wearing

agent being the wind, which would be powerless to erase

ice-scratches, especially since, on account of gravity's power,

it cannot, like our desert winds, carry much sand--which, as we

know, has cut away the base of the Sphinx--I think it is logical

to conclude that, though Jupiter's axis is changing naturally as

the earth's has been, it has never varied as much as twenty-three

and a half degrees, and certainly to nothing like the extent to

which we see Venus and Uranus tilted to-day."

[2] It is well known that mountain chains are but ridges or

foldings in the crust upheaved as the interior cools and shrinks.

This is proved by reason and by experiments with viscous clay or

other material placed upon a sheet of stretched rubber, which is

afterwards allowed to contract, whereupon the analogues of

mountain ridges are thrown up.

"I follow you," said Bearwarden, "and do not see how we could

arrive at anything else. From Jupiter's low specific gravity,

weighing but little more than an equal bulk of water, I should

say the interior must be very hot, or else is composed of light

material, for the crust's surface, or the part we see, is

evidently about as dense as what we have on earth. These things

have puzzled me a good deal, and I have been wondering if Jupiter

may not have been formed before the earth and the smaller


"The discrepancies between even the best authorities," replied

Cortlandt, "show that as yet but little has been discovered from

the earth concerning Jupiter's real condition. The two theories

that try to account for its genesis are the ring theory and the

nebulous. We know that the sun is constantly emitting vast

volumes of heat and light, and that, with the exception of the

heat resulting from the impact of falling meteors, it receives

none from outside, the principal source being the tremendous

friction and pressure between the cooling and shrinking strata

within the great mass of the sun itself. A seeming paradox

therefore comes in here, which must be considered: If the sun

were composed entirely of gas, it would for a time continue to

grow hotter; but the sun is incessantly radiating light and heat,

and consequently becoming smaller. Therefore the farther back we

go the hotter we find the sun, and also the larger, till, instead

of having a diameter of eight hundred and eighty thousand miles,

it filled the space now occupied by the entire solar system.

Here is where the two theories start. According to the first,

the revolving nebulous mass threw off a ring that became the

planet Neptune, afterwards another that contained the material

for Uranus, and so on, the lightest substance in the sun being

thrown off first, by which they accounted for the lightness of

the four great planets, and finally Mars, the earth, and the

small dense planets near the sun. The advocates of this theory

pointed to Saturn's rings as an illustration of the birth of a

planet, or, rather, in that case a satellite. According to this,

the major planets have had a far longer separate existence than

the minor, which would account for their being so advanced

notwithstanding their size. This theory may again come into

general acceptance, but for the present it has been discredited

by the nebulous. According to this second theory, at the time

the sun filled all the space inside of Neptune's, orbit, or

extended even farther, several centres of condensation were

formed within the nebulous, gaseous mass. The greatest centre

became the sun, and the others, large and small, the planets,

which--as a result of the spiral motion of the whole, such as is

now going on before our eyes in the great nebulae of fifty- one

M. Canuin venaticorum, and many others--began to revolve about

the greatest central body of gas. As the separate masses cooled,

they shrank, and their surfaces or extreme edges, which at first

were contiguous, began to recede, which recession is still going

on with some rapidity on the part of the sun, for we may be sure

its diameter diminishes as its density increases. According to

either theory, as I see it, the major planets, on account of

their distance from the central mass, have had longer separate

existences than the minor, and are therefore more advanced than

they would be had all been formed at the same time.

"This theory explains the practical uniformity in the chemical

composition of all members of this system by assuming that they

were all once a part of the same body, and you may say brothers

and sisters of the sun, instead of its offspring. It also makes

size the only factor determining temperature and density, but of

course modified by age, since otherwise Jupiter would have a far

less developed crust than that with which we find it. I have

always considered the period from the molten condition to that

with a crust as comparatively short, which stands to reason, for

radiation has then no check; and the period from the formation of

the crust, which acts as a blanket, to the death of a planet, as

very long. I have not found this view clearly set forth in any

of the books I have read, but it seems to me the simplest and

most natural explanation. Now, granted that the solar system was

once a nebula, on which I think every one will agree--the same

forces that changed it into a system of sun and planets must be

at work on fifty-one M. Canum venaticorum, Andromeda, and ninety-

nine M. Virginis, and must inevitably change them to suns, each

with doubtless a system of planets.

"If, then, the condition of a nebula or star depends simply on

its size, it is reasonable to suppose that Andromeda, Sirius, and

all the vast bodies we see, were created at the same time as our

system, which involves the necessity of one general and

simultaneous creation day. But as Sirius, with its diameter of

twelve million miles, must be larger than some of the nebulae

will be when equally condensed, we must suppose rather that

nebulae are forming and coming into the condition of bright and

dead stars, much as apples or pears on a fruit tree are

constantly growing and developing, so that the Mosaic description

of the creation would probably apply in point of time only to our

system, or perhaps to our globe, though the rest will doubtless

pass through precisely the same stages. This, I think, I will

publish, on our return, as the Cortlandt astronomical doctrine,

as the most rational I have seen devised, and one that I think we

may safely believe, until, perhaps, through increased knowledge,

it can be disproved."

After they crossed a line of hills that ran at right angles to

their course they found the country more rolling. All streams

and water-courses flowed in their direction, while their aneroid

showed them that they were gradually descending. When they were

moving along near the surface of the ground, a delicious and

refined perfume exhaled by the blue and white flowers, that had

been growing smaller as they journeyed northward, frequently

reached their nostrils. To Cortlandt and Bearwarden it was

merely the scent of a flower, but to Ayrault it recalled mental

pictures of Sylvia wearing violets and lilies that he had given

her. He knew that the greatest telescopes on earth could not

reveal the Callisto moving about in Jupiter's sunshine, as even a

point of light, at that distance, and, notwithstanding

Cortlandt's learning and Bearwarden's joviality, he felt at times

extremely lonely.

They swept along steadily for fifty hours, having bright sunny

days and beautifully moonlit nights. They passed over finely

rounded hills and valleys and well- watered plains. As they

approached the ocean and its level the temperature rose, and

there was more moisture in the air. The plants and flowers also

increased in size, again resembling somewhat the large species

they had seen near the equator.

"This would be the place to live," said Bearwarden, looking at

iron mountains, silver, copper, and lead formations, primeval

forests, rich prairies, and regions evidently underlaid with coal

and petroleum, not to mention huge beds of aluminum clay, and

other natural resources, that made his materialistic mouth water.

"It would be joy and delight to develop industries here, with no

snow avalanches to clog your railroads, or icy blizzards to

paralyze work, nor weather that blights you with sun-strokes and

fevers. On our return to the earth we must organize a company to

run regular interplanetary lines. We could start on this globe

all that is best on our own. Think what boundless possibilities

may be before the human race on this planet, which on account of

its vast size will be in its prime when our insignificant earth

is cold and dead and no longer capable of supporting life! Think

also of the indescribable blessing to the congested communities

of Europe and America, to find an unlimited outlet here! Mars is

already past its prime, and Venus scarcely habitable, but in

Jupiter we have a new promised land, compared with which our

earth is a pygmy, or but little more than microscopic."

"I see," said Ayrault, "that the possibilities here have no

limit; but I do not see how you can compare it to the promised

land, since, till we undertook this journey, no one had even

thought of Jupiter as a habitable place."

"I trace the Divine promise," replied Bearwarden, "in what you

described to us on earth as man's innate longing and desire to

rise, and in the fact that the Almighty has given the race

unbounded expansiveness in very limited space. This would look

to me as the return of man to the garden of Eden through

intellectual development, for here every man can sit under his

own vine and fig-tree."

"It seems to me," said Cortlandt, "that no paradise or heaven

described in anything but the Bible compares with this.

According to Virgil's description, the joys on the banks of his

river Lethe must have been most sad and dreary, the general

idleness and monotony apparently being broken only by wrestling

matches between the children, while the rest strolled about with

laurel wreaths or rested in the shade. The pilot Palinurus, who

had been drowned by falling overboard while asleep, but who

before that had presumably done his duty, did not seem especially

happy; while the harsh, resentful disposition evidently remained

unsoftened, for Dido became like a cliff of Marpesian marble when

AEneas asked to be forgiven, though he had doubtless considered

himself in duty bound to leave her, having been twice commanded

to do so by Mercury, the messenger of Jove. She, like the rest,

seems to have had no occupation, while the consciences of few

appear to have been sufficiently clear to enable them to enjoy

unbroken rest."

"The idleness in the spirit-land of all profane writers," added

Bearwarden, "has often surprised me too. Though I have always

recommended a certain amount of recreation for my staff--in fact,

more than I have generally had myself--an excess of it becomes a

bore. I think that all real progress comes through thorough

work. Why should we assume that progress ceases at death? I

believe in the verse that says, 'We learn here on earth those

things the knowledge of which is perfected in heaven.'"

"According to that," said Cortlandt, "you will some day be

setting the axis of heaven right, for in order to do work there

must be work to be done--a necessary corollary to which is that

heaven is still imperfect."

"No," said Bearwarden, bristling up at the way Cortlandt

sometimes received his speeches, "it means simply that its

development, though perfect so far as it goes, may not be

finished, and that we may be the means, as on earth, of helping

it along."

"The conditions constituting heaven," said Ayrault, "may be as

fixed as the laws of Nature, though the products of those

conditions might, it seems to me, still be forming and subject to

modification thereby. The reductio ad absurdu would of course

apply if we supposed the work of creation absolutely finished."