A Journey in Other Worlds
"There is something sad," said Cortlandt, "about the end of everything, but I am more
sorry to leave Saturn than I have ever been in taking leave of any other place."
When beyond the limits of the atmosphere they applied the full current, and were soon
once more cleaving the ether at cometary speed, their motion towards the sun being aided
by that great body itself.
They quickly passed beyond the outer edge of the vast silvery rings, and then crossed one
after another the orbits of the moons, from the last of which, Iapetus, they obtained their
final course in the direction of the earth. They had an acute feeling of homesickness for
the mysterious planet on which, while yet mortal, they had found paradise, and had
communed with spirits as no modern men ever did.
Without deviating from their almost straight line, they passed within a million miles of
Jupiter, which had gained in its smaller orbit on Saturn, and a few days later crossed the
track of Mars.
As the earth had completed nearly half a revolution in its orbit since their departure, they
here turned somewhat to the right by attracting the ruddy planet, in order to avoid passing
too near the sun.
"On some future expedition," said Ayrault, "and when we have a supply of blue glasses,
we can take a trip to Venus, if we can find a possible season in her year. Compared with
this journey, it would be only like going round the block."
Two days later they had rounded the sun, and laid their course in pursuit of the earth.
That the astronomers in the dark hemisphere were at their posts and saw them, was
evident; for a brilliant beam of light again flashed forth, this time from a point a little
south of the arctic circle, and after shining one minute, telegraphed this message:
"Rejoiced to see you again. Hope all are well."
Since they were not sufficiently near the moon's shadow, they directed their light-beam
into their own, which trailed off on one side, and answered: "All well, thank you. Have
wonderful things to relate."
The men at the telescopes then, as before, read the message, and telephoned the light this
next question: "When are you coming down, that we may notify the newspapers?"
"We wish one more sight of the earth from this height, by daylight. We are now swinging
to get between it and the sun."