A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
The Last Of The Earth
Finding that they were rapidly swinging towards their proper course, and that the earth in
its journey about the sun would move out of their way, they divided their power between
repelling the body they had left and increasing the attraction of the moon, and then set
about getting their house in order.
Bearwarden, having the largest appetite, was elected cook, the others sagely divining that
labour so largely for himself would be no trial. Their small but business- like-looking
electric range was therefore soon in full blast, with Bearwarden in command. It had
enough current to provide heat for cooking for four hundred hours, which was an ample
margin, and it had this advantage, that, no matter how much it was used, it could not
exhaust the air as any other form of heat would.
There were also a number of sixteen-candle-power incandescent lamps, so that when
passing through the shadow of a planet, or at night after their arrival on Jupiter, their car
would be brightly illuminated. They had also a good search-light for examining the dark
side of a satellite, or exploring the spaces in Saturn's rings. Having lunched sumptuously
on canned chicken soup, beef a la jardiniere, and pheasant that had been sent them by
some of their admirers that morning, they put the bones and the glass can that had
contained the soup into the double-doored partition or vestibule, placing a large sheet of
cardboard to act as a wad between the scraps and the outside door. By pressing a button
they unfastened the outside door, and the articles to be disposed of were shot off by the
expansion of the air between the cardboard disk and the inside door; after which the
outside door was drawn back to its place by a current sent through a magnet, but little
power being required to reclose it with no resisting atmospheric pressure. As the
electricity ran along a wire passing through a hermetically sealed opening in the floor,
there was no way by which more air than that in the vestibule could escape; and as the
somewhat flat space between the doors contained less than one cubic foot, the air-
pressure inside the Callisto could not be materially lessened by a few openings.
"By filling the vestibule as full as possible," said Bearwarden, "and so displacing most of
its air, we shall be able to open the outside door oftener without danger of rarefaction."
The things they had discharged flew off with considerable speed and were soon out of
sight; but it was not necessary for them to move fast, provided they moved at all, for, the
resistance being nil, they would be sure to go beyond the range of vision, provided
enough time was allowed, even if the Callisto's speed was not being increased by apergy,
in which case articles outside and not affected would be quickly left behind.
The earth, which at first had filled nearly half their sky, was rapidly growing smaller.
Being almost between themselves and the sun, it looked like a crescent moon; and when
it was only about twenty times the size of the moon they calculated they must have come
nearly two hundred thousand miles. The moon was now on what a sailor would call the
starboard bow--i. e., to the right and ahead. Being a little more than three quarters full,