A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
"You will have an ideal trip," she said, looking over some astronomical star-charts and
photographic maps of Jupiter and Saturn that lay on the table, with a pair of compasses,
"and I hope you won't lose your way."
"I shall need no compass to find my way back," replied Ayrault, "if I ever succeed in
leaving this planet; neither will star-charts be necessary, for you will be a magnet
stronger than any compass, and, compared with my star, all others are dim."
"You should write a book," said Sylvia, "and put some of those things in it." She was
wearing a bunch of forget-me-nots and violets that she had cut from a small flower-
garden of potted plants Ayrault had sent her, which she had placed in her father's
At this moment the small chime clock set in the Callisto's wood-work rang out quarter to
eleven. As the sounds died away, Sylvia became very pale, and began to regret in her
womanly way that she had allowed her hero to attempt this experiment.
"Oh," she said, clinging to his arm, "it was very wrong of me to let you begin this. I was
so dazzled by the splendour of your scheme when I heard it, and so anxious that you
should have the glory of being the first to surpass Columbus, that I did not realize the full
meaning. I thought, also, you seemed rather ready to leave me," she added gently, "and so
said little; you do not know how it almost breaks my heart now that I am about to lose
you. It was quixotic to let you undertake this journey."
"An undertaker would have given me his kind offices for one even longer, had I remained
here," replied Ayrault. "I cannot live in this humdrum world without you. The most
sustained excitement cannot even palliate what seems to me like unrequited love."
"O Dick!" she exclaimed, giving him a reproachful glance, "you mustn't say that. You
know you have often told me my reason for staying and taking my degree was good. My
lot will be very much harder than yours, for you will forget me in the excitement of
discovery and adventure; but I--what can I do in the midst of all the old associations?"
"Never mind, sweetheart," he said, kissing her hand, "I have seemed on the verge of
despair all the time."
Seeing that their separation must shortly begin, Ayrault tried to assume a cheerful look;
but as Sylvia turned her eyes away they were suspiciously moist.
Just one minute before the starting-time Ayrault took Sylvia back to her mother, and,
after pressing her hand and having one last long look into her--or, as he considered them,
HIS--deep-sea eyes, he returned to the Callisto, and was standing at the foot of the
telescopic aluminum ladder when his friends arrived. As all baggage and impedimenta
bad been sent aboard and properly stowed the day before, the travellers had not to do but
climb to and enter by the second-story window. It distressed Bearwarden that the north
pole's exact declination on the 21st day of December, when the axis was most inclined,