The End

: From The Earth To The Moon

We may remember the intense sympathy which had accompanied the

travelers on their departure. If at the beginning of the

enterprise they had excited such emotion both in the old and

new world, with what enthusiasm would they be received on

their return! The millions of spectators which had beset

the peninsula of Florida, would they not rush to meet these

sublime adventurers? Those legions of strangers, hurrying from<
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all parts of the globe toward the American shores, would they

leave the Union without having seen Barbicane, Nicholl, and

Michel Ardan? No! and the ardent passion of the public was

bound to respond worthily to the greatness of the enterprise.

Human creatures who had left the terrestrial sphere, and returned

after this strange voyage into celestial space, could not fail

to be received as the prophet Elias would be if he came back

to earth. To see them first, and then to hear them, such was

the universal longing.

Barbicane, Michel Ardan, Nicholl, and the delegates of the Gun

Club, returning without delay to Baltimore, were received with

indescribable enthusiasm. The notes of President Barbicane's

voyage were ready to be given to the public. The New York

Herald bought the manuscript at a price not yet known, but

which must have been very high. Indeed, during the publication

of "A Journey to the Moon," the sale of this paper amounted to

five millions of copies. Three days after the return of

the travelers to the earth, the slightest detail of their

expedition was known. There remained nothing more but to see

the heroes of this superhuman enterprise.

The expedition of Barbicane and his friends round the moon had

enabled them to correct the many admitted theories regarding the

terrestrial satellite. These savants had observed de visu,

and under particular circumstances. They knew what systems

should be rejected, what retained with regard to the formation

of that orb, its origin, its habitability. Its past, present,

and future had even given up their last secrets. Who could

advance objections against conscientious observers, who at less

than twenty-four miles distance had marked that curious mountain

of Tycho, the strangest system of lunar orography? How answer

those savants whose sight had penetrated the abyss of

Pluto's circle? How contradict those bold ones whom the chances

of their enterprise had borne over that invisible face of the

disc, which no human eye until then had ever seen? It was now

their turn to impose some limit on that selenographic science,

which had reconstructed the lunar world as Cuvier did the

skeleton of a fossil, and say, "The moon was this, a habitable

world, inhabited before the earth. The moon is that, a world

uninhabitable, and now uninhabited."

To celebrate the return of its most illustrious member and his

two companions, the Gun Club decided upon giving a banquet, but

a banquet worthy of the conquerors, worthy of the American

people, and under such conditions that all the inhabitants of

the Union could directly take part in it.

All the head lines of railroads in the States were joined by

flying rails; and on all the platforms, lined with the same

flags, and decorated with the same ornaments, were tables laid

and all served alike. At certain hours, successively

calculated, marked by electric clocks which beat the seconds at

the same time, the population were invited to take their places

at the banquet tables. For four days, from the 5th to the 9th

of January, the trains were stopped as they are on Sundays on

the railways of the United States, and every road was open.

One engine only at full speed, drawing a triumphal carriage, had

the right of traveling for those four days on the railroads of

the United States.

The engine was manned by a driver and a stoker, and bore, by

special favor, the Hon. J. T. Maston, secretary of the Gun Club.

The carriage was reserved for President Barbicane, Colonel

Nicholl, and Michel Ardan. At the whistle of the driver, amid

the hurrahs, and all the admiring vociferations of the American

language, the train left the platform of Baltimore. It traveled

at a speed of one hundred and sixty miles in the hour. But what

was this speed compared with that which had carried the three

heroes from the mouth of the Columbiad?

Thus they sped from one town to the other, finding whole

populations at table on their road, saluting them with the same

acclamations, lavishing the same bravos! They traveled in this

way through the east of the Union, Pennsylvania, Connecticut,

Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire; the north and

west by New York, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin; returning to

the south by Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana;

they went to the southeast by Alabama and Florida, going up by

Georgia and the Carolinas, visiting the center by Tennessee,

Kentucky, Virginia, and Indiana, and, after quitting the

Washington station, re-entered Baltimore, where for four days

one would have thought that the United States of America were

seated at one immense banquet, saluting them simultaneously with

the same hurrahs! The apotheosis was worthy of these three

heroes whom fable would have placed in the rank of demigods.

And now will this attempt, unprecedented in the annals of

travels, lead to any practical result? Will direct

communication with the moon ever be established? Will they

ever lay the foundation of a traveling service through the

solar world? Will they go from one planet to another, from

Jupiter to Mercury, and after awhile from one star to another,

from the Polar to Sirius? Will this means of locomotion allow

us to visit those suns which swarm in the firmament?

To such questions no answer can be given. But knowing the bold

ingenuity of the Anglo-Saxon race, no one would be astonished if

the Americans seek to make some use of President Barbicane's attempt.

Thus, some time after the return of the travelers, the public

received with marked favor the announcement of a company,

limited, with a capital of a hundred million of dollars, divided

into a hundred thousand shares of a thousand dollars each, under

the name of the "National Company of Interstellary Communication."

President, Barbicane; vice-president, Captain Nicholl; secretary,

J. T. Maston; director of movements, Michel Ardan.

And as it is part of the American temperament to foresee

everything in business, even failure, the Honorable Harry

Trolloppe, judge commissioner, and Francis Drayton, magistrate,

were nominated beforehand!