A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
As the, night became darker they caught sight of the earth again, shining very faintly, and
in his mind's eye Ayrault saw his sweetheart, and the old, old repining that, since reason
and love began, has been in men's minds, came upon him and almost crushed him.
Without saying anything to his companions, Ayrault left the cave, and, passing through
the grove in which the spirit had paid them his second visit, went slowly to the top of the
hill about half a mile off, that he might the more easily gaze at the faint star on which he
could picture Sylvia.
"Ah!" he said to himself, on reaching the summit, "I will stay here till the earth rises
higher, and when it is far above me I will gaze at it as at heaven."
Accordingly, he lay down with his head on a mound of sod, and watched the familiar
"We were born too soon," he soliloquized; "for had Sylvia and I but lived in the spiritual
age foretold by the bishop, we might have held communion, while now our spirits, no
matter how much in love, are separated absolutely by a mere matter of distance. It is a
mockery to see Sylvia's dwelling-place, and feel that she is beyond my vision. O that, in
the absence of something better, my poor imperfect eyes could be transformed into those
of an eagle, but with a million times the power! for though I know that with these senses I
shall see the resurrection, and hear the last trump, that is but prospective, while now is the
time I long for sight."
On the plain he had left he saw his friends' camp-fire, while on the other side of his
elevation was a valley in which the insects chirped sharply, and through which ran a
stream. Feeling a desire for solitude and to be as far removed as possible, he arose and
descended towards the water. Though the autumn, where they found themselves, was
well advanced, this night was warm, and the rings formed a great arch above his head.
Near the stream the frogs croaked happily, as if unmindful of the long very long
Saturnian winter; for though they were removed but about ten degrees from the equator,
the sun was so remote and the axis of the planet so inclined that it was unlikely these
individual frogs would see another summer, though they might live again, in a sense, in
their descendants. The insects also would soon be frozen and stiff, and the tall, graceful
lilies that still clung to life would be withered and dead. The trees, as if weeping at the
evanescence of the life around them, shed their leaves at the faintest breeze. These
fluttered to the ground, or, falling into the tranquil stream, were carried away by it, and
passed from sight. Ayrault stood musing and regretting the necessity of such general
death. "But," he thought, "I would rather die than lose my love; for then I should have
had the taste of bliss without its fulfilment, and should be worse off than dead. Love gilds
the commonplace, and deifies all it touches. Love survives the winter, and in my present
frame of mind I should prefer earth and cold with it to heaven and spring. Oh, why is my
soul so clogged by my body?"