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A Journey in Other Worlds
J. J. Astor
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Hic Ille Jacet
At daybreak the thunder-shower passed off, but was followed by a cold, drenching rain.
Supposing Ayrault had remained in the Callisto, Bearwarden and Cortlandt did not feel
anxious, and, not wishing to be wet through, remained in the cave, keeping up a good fire
with the wood they had collected. Towards evening a cold wind came up, and, thinking
this might clear the air, they ventured out, but, finding the ground saturated, and that the
rain was again beginning to fall, they returned to shelter, prepared a dinner of canned
meat, and made themselves as comfortable as possible for the night.
"I am surprised," said Cortlandt, "that Dick did not try to return to us, since he had the
"I dare say he did try," replied Bearwarden, "but finding the course inundated, and
knowing we should not need the mackintoshes if we remained under cover, decided to
put back. The Callisto is, of course, as safe as a church."
"I hope," said Cortlandt, "no harm has come to him on the way. It will be a weight off my
mind to see him safely with us."
"Should he not turn up in the morning," replied Bearwarden, "we must begin a search for
him bright and early."
Making up the fire as near the entrance of the cave as they could find a dry place, so that
Ayrault should see it if he attempted to return during the night, they piled on wood, and
talked of their recent experiences.
"However unwilling I was," said Cortlandt, "to believe my senses, which I felt were
misleading me, I can no longer doubt the reality of that spirit bishop, or the truth of what
be says. When you look at the question dispassionately, it is what you might logically
expect. In my desire to disprove what is to us supernatural, I tried to create mentally a
system that would be a substitute for the one he described, but could evolve nothing that
so perfectly filled the requirements, or that was so simple. Nothing seems more natural
than that man, having been evolved from stone, should continue his ascent till he discards
material altogether. The metamorphism is more striking in the first change than in the
second. Granted that the soul is immaterial, and that it leaves the body after death, what is
there to keep it on earth? Gravitation cannot affect it. What is more likely than that it is
left behind by the earth in its orbit, or that it continues its forward motion, but in a
straight line, till, reaching the paths of the greater planets, it is drawn to them by some
affinity or attraction that the earth does not possess, and that the souls held in that manner
remain here on probation, developing like young animals or children, till, by gradually
acquired power, resulting from their wills, they are able to rise again into space, to revisit
the earth, and in time to explore the universe? It might easily come about that, by some
explainable sympathy, the infant good souls are drawn to this planet, while the
condemned pass on to Cassandra, which holds them by some property peculiar to itself,