: A Journey In Other Worlds

Jupiter--the magnificent planet with a diameter of 86,500

miles, having 119 times the surface and 1,300 times the volume of

the earth--lay beneath them.

They had often seen it in the terrestrial sky, emitting its

strong, steady ray, and had thought of that far-away planet,

about which till recently so little had been known, and a burning

desire had possessed them to go to it and explore its mysteries.
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Now, thanks to APERGY, the force whose existence the ancients

suspected, but of which they knew so little, all things were


Ayrault manipulated the silk-covered glass handles, and the

Callisto moved on slowly in comparison with its recent speed,

and all remained glued to their telescopes as they peered through

the rushing clouds, now forming and now dissolving before their

eyes. What transports of delight, what ecstatic bliss, was

theirs! Men had discovered and mastered the secret of apergy,

and now, "little lower than the angels," they could soar through

space, leaving even planets and comets behind.

"Is it not strange," said Dr. Cortlandt, "that though it has been

known for over a century that bodies charged with unlike

electricities attract one another, and those charged with like

repel, no one thought of utilizing the counterpart of

gravitation? In the nineteenth century, savants and Indian

jugglers performed experiments with their disciples and masses of

inert matter, by causing them to remain without visible support

at some distance from the ground; and while many of these, of

course, were quacks, some were on the right track, though they

did not push their research."

President Bearwarden and Ayrault assented. They were steering

for an apparently hard part of the planet's surface, about a

degree and a half north of its equator.

"Since Jupiter's axis is almost at right angles to the plane of

its orbit," said the doctor, "being inclined only about one

degree and a half, instead of twenty-three and a half, as was the

earth's till nearly so recently, it will be possible for us to

have any climate we wish, from constantly warm at the equator to

constantly cool or cold as we approach the poles, without being

troubled by extremes of winter and summer."

Until the Callisto entered the planet's atmosphere, its five

moons appeared like silver shields against the black sky, but now

things were looking more terrestrial, and they began to feel at

home. Bearwarden put down his note-book, and Ayrault returned a

photograph to his pocket, while all three gazed at their new

abode. Beneath them was a vast continent variegated by chains of

lakes and rivers stretching away in all directions except toward

the equator, where lay a placid ocean as far as their telescopes

could pierce. To the eastward were towering and massive

mountains, and along the southern border of the continent smoking

volcanoes, while toward the west they saw forests, gently rolling

plains, and table-lands that would have satisfied a poet or set

an agriculturist's heart at rest. "How I should like to mine

those hills for copper, or drain the swamps to the south!"

exclaimed Col. Bearwarden. "The Lake Superior mines and the

reclamation of the Florida Everglades would be nothing to this."

"Any inhabitants we may find here have so much land at their

disposal that they will not need to drain swamps on account of

pressure of population for some time," put in the doctor.

"I hope we may find some four-legged inhabitants," said Ayrault,

thinking of their explosive magazine rifles. "If Jupiter is

passing through its Jurassic or Mesozoic period, there must be

any amount of some kind of game." Just then a quiver shook the

Callisto, and glancing to the right they noticed one of the

volcanoes in violent eruption. Smoke filled the air in clouds,

hot stones and then floods of lava poured from the crater, while

even the walls of the hermetically sealed Callisto could not

arrest the thunderous crashes that made the interior of the car


"Had we not better move on?" said Bearwarden, and accordingly

they went toward the woods they had first seen. Finding a firm

strip of land between the forest and an arm of the sea, they

gently grounded the Callisto, and not being altogether sure how

the atmosphere of their new abode would suit terrestrial lungs,

or what its pressure to the square inch might be, they cautiously

opened a port-hole a crack, retaining their hold upon it with its

screw. Instantly there was a rush and a whistling sound as of

escaping steam, while in a few moments their barometer stood at

thirty-six inches, whereupon they closed the opening.

"I fancy," said Dr. Cortlandt, "we had better wait now till we

become accustomed to this pressure. I do not believe it will go

much higher, for the window made but little resistance when we

shut it."

Finding they were not inconvenienced by a pressure but little

greater than that of a deep coal-mine, they again opened the

port, whereupon their barometer showed a further rise to

forty-two, and then remained stationary. Finding also that the

chemical composition of the air suited them, and that they had no

difficulty in breathing, the pressure being the same as that

sustained by a diver in fourteen feet of water, they opened a

door and emerged. They knew fairly well what to expect, and were

not disturbed by their new conditions. Though they had

apparently gained a good deal in weight as a result of their

ethereal journey, this did not incommode them; for though

Jupiter's volume is thirteen hundred times that of the earth, on

account of its lesser specific gravity, it has but three hundred

times the mass--i. e., it would weigh but three hundred times as

much. Further, although a cubic foot of water or anything else

weighs 2.5 as much as on earth, objects near the equator, on

account of Jupiter's rapid rotation, weigh one fifth less than

they do at the poles, by reason of the centrifugal force.

Influenced by this fact, and also because they were 483,000,000

miles from the sun, instead of 92,000,000 as on earth, they had

steered for the northern limit of Jupiter's tropics. And, in

addition to this, they could easily apply the apergetic power in

any degree to themselves when beyond the limits of the Callisto,

and so be attracted to any extent, from twice the pull they

receive from gravitation on earth to almost nothing.

Bearwarden and Ayrault shouldered their rifles, while Dr.

Cortlandt took a repeating shot-gun with No. 4 shot, and, having

also some hunting-knives and a sextant, all three set out in a

northwesterly direction. The ground was rather soft, and a warm

vapor seemed to rise from it. To the east the sky was veiled by

dense clouds of smoke from the towering volcanoes, while on their

left the forest seemed to extend without limit. Clumps of huge

ferns were scattered about, and the ground was covered with

curious tracks.

"Jupiter is evidently passing through a Carboniferous or Devonian

period such as existed on earth, though, if consistent with its

size, it should be on a vastly larger scale," said the doctor.

"I never believed in the theory," he continued, "that the larger

the planet the smaller should be its inhabitants, and always

considered it a makeshift, put forward in the absence of definite

knowledge, the idea being apparently that the weight of very

large creatures would be too great for their strength. Of the

fact that mastodons and creatures far larger than any now living

on earth existed there, we have absolute proof, though

gravitation must have been practically the same then as now."

Just here they came upon a number of huge bones, evidently the

remains of some saurian, and many times the size of a grown

crocodile. On passing a growth of most luxuriant vegetation,

they saw a half-dozen sacklike objects, and drawing nearer

noticed that the tops began to swell, and at the same time became

lighter in colour. Just as the doctor was about to investigate

one of them with his duck-shot, the enormously inflated tops of

the creatures collapsed with a loud report, and the entire group

soared away. When about to alight, forty yards off, they

distended membranous folds in the manner of wings, which checked

their descent, and on touching the ground remained where they

were without rebound.

"We expected to find all kinds of reptiles and birds," exclaimed

the doctor. "But I do not know how we should class those

creatures. They seem to have pneumatic feet and legs, for their

motion was certainly not produced like that of frogs."

When the party came up with them the heads again began to swell.

"I will perforate the air-chamber of one," said Col. Bearwarden,

withdrawing the explosive cartridge from the barrel of his rifle

and substituting one with a solid ball. "This will doubtless

disable one so that we can examine it."

Just as they were about to rise, he shot the largest through the

neck. All but the wounded one, soared off, while Bearwarden,

Ayrault, and Cortlandt approached to examine it more closely.

"You see," said Cortlandt, "this vertebrate--for that is as

definitely as we can yet describe it--forces a great pressure of

air into its head and neck, which, by the action of valves, it

must allow to rush into its very rudimentary lower extremities,

distending them with such violence that the body is shot upward

and forward. You may have noticed the tightly inflated portion

underneath as they left the ground."

While speaking he had moved rather near, when suddenly a

partially concealed mouth opened, showing the unmistakable tongue

and fangs of a serpent. It emitted a hissing sound, and the

small eyes gleamed maliciously.

"Do you believe it is a poisonous species?" asked Ayrault.

"I suspect it is," replied the doctor; "for, though it is

doubtless able to leap with great accuracy upon its prey, we saw

it took some time to recharge the upper air-chamber, so that,

were it not armed with poison glands, it would fall an easy

victim to its more powerful and swifter contemporaries, and would

soon become extinct."

"As it will be unable to spring for some time," said Bearwarden,

"we might as well save it the disappointment of trying," and,

snapping the used shell from his rifle, he fired an explosive

ball into the reptile, whereupon about half the body disappeared,

while a sickening odour arose. Although the sun was still far

above the horizon, the rapidity with which it was descending

showed that the short night of less than five hours would soon be

upon them; and though short it might be very dark, for they were

in the tropics, and the sun, going down perpendicularly, must

also pass completely around the globe, instead of, as in northern

latitudes on earth in summer, approaching the horizon obliquely,

and not going far below it. A slight and diffused sound here

seemed to rise from the ground all about them, for which they

could not account. Presently it became louder, and as the sun

touched the horizon, it poured forth in prolonged strains. The

large trumpet-shaped lilies, reeds, and heliotropes seemed fairly

to throb as they raised their anthem to the sky and the setting

sun, while the air grew dark with clouds of birds that gradually

alighted on the ground, until, as the chorus grew fainter and

gradually ceased, they flew back to their nests. The three

companions had stood astonished while this act was played. The

doctor then spoke:

"This is the most marvellous development of Nature I have seen,

for its wonderful divergence from, and yet analogy to, what takes

place on earth. You know our flowers offer honey, as it were, as

bait to insects, that in eating or collecting it they may catch

the pollen on their legs and so carry it to other flowers,

perhaps of the opposite sex. Here flowers evidently appeal to

the sense of hearing instead of taste, and make use of birds, of

which there are enormous numbers, instead of winged insects, of

which I have seen none, one being perhaps the natural result of

the other. The flowers have become singers by long practice, or

else, those that were most musical having had the best chance to

reproduce, we have a neat illustration of the 'survival of the

fittest.' The sound is doubtless produced by a shrinking of the

fibres as the sun withdraws its heat, in which case we may expect

another song at sunrise, when the same result will be effected by

their expanding."

Searching for a camping-place in which to pass the coming hours,

they saw lights flitting about like will-o'-the-wisps, but

brighter and intermittent.

"They seem to be as bright as sixteen-candle-power lamps, but the

light is yellower, and appears to emanate from a comparatively

large surface, certainly nine or ten inches square," said the


They soon gave up the chase, however, for the lights were

continually moving and frequently went out. While groping in the

growing darkness, they came upon a brown object about the size of

a small dog and close to the ground. It flew off with a humming

insect sound, and as it did so it showed the brilliant

phosphorescent glow they had observed.

"That is a good-sized fire-fly," said Bearwarden. "Evidently the

insects here are on the same scale as everything else. They are

like the fire-flies in Cuba, which the Cubans are said to put

into a glass box and get light enough from to read by. Here they

would need only one, if it could be induced to give its light


Having found an open space on high ground, they sat down, and

Bearwarden struck his repeater, which, for convenience, had been

arranged for Jupiter time, dividing the day into ten hours,

beginning at noon, midnight being therefore five o'clock.

"Twenty minutes past four," said he, "which would correspond to

about a quarter to eleven on earth. As the sun rises at

half-past seven, it will be dark about three hours, for the time

between dawn and daylight will, of course, be as short as that we

have just experienced between sunset and night."

"If we stay here long," said the doctor, "I suppose we shall

become accustomed, like sailors, to taking our four, or in this

case five, hours on duty, and five hours off."

"Or," added Ayrault, "we can sleep ten consecutive hours and take

the next ten for exploring and hunting, having the sun for one

half the time and the moons for the other."

Bearwarden and Cortlandt now rolled themselves in their blankets

and were soon asleep, while Ayrault, whose turn it was to watch

till the moons rose--for they had not yet enough confidence in

their new domain to sleep in darkness simultaneously--leaned his

back against a rock and lighted his pipe. In the distance he saw

the torrents of fiery lava from the volcanoes reflected in the

sky, and faintly heard their thunderous crashes, while the

fire-flies twinkled unconcernedly in the hollow, and the night

winds swayed the fernlike branches. Then he gazed at the earth,

which, but little above the horizon, shone with a faint but

steady ray, and his mind's eye ran beyond his natural vision

while he pictured to himself the girl of his heart, wishing that

by some communion of spirits he might convey his thoughts to her,

and receive hers. It was now the first week of January on earth.

He could almost see her house and the snow-clad trees in the

park, and knew that at that hour she was dressing for dinner, and

hoped and believed that he was in her heart. While he thus

mused, one moon after another rose, each at a different phase,

till three were at once in the sky. Adjusting the electric

protection- wires that were to paralyze any creature that

attempted to come within the circle, and would arouse them by

ringing a bell, he knocked the ashes from his pipe, rolled

himself in a blanket, and was soon asleep beside his friends.