A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
"There will be no danger from, meteors or sub-satellites here," said Bearwarden, "for
anything revolving about the moon at this distance would be caught by the earth."
The sun had apparently set behind the moon, and they were eclipsed. The stars shone
with the utmost splendour against the dead-black sky, and the earth appeared as a large
crescent, still considerably larger than the satellite to which they were accustomed.
Exactly at midnight a faint phosphorescent light, like that of a glow-worm, appeared in
the region of Greenland on the planet they had left. It gradually increased its strength till
it shone like a long white beam projected from a lighthouse, and in this they beheld the
work of the greatest search-light ever made by man, receiving for a few moments all the
electricity generated by the available dynamos at Niagara and the Bay of Fundy, the
steam engines, and other sources of power in the northern hemisphere. The beam lasted
with growing intensity for one minute; it then spelled out with clean-cut intervals,
according to the Cable Code: "23@ no' 6". The southern hemisphere pumps are now
raising and storing water at full blast. We have already begun to lower the Arctic Ocean."
"Victory!" shouted Bearwarden, in an ecstasy of delight. "Nearly half a degree in six
months, with but one pole working. If we can add at this rate each time to the speed of
straightening already acquired, we can reverse our engines in five years, and in five more
the earth will be at rest and right."
"Look!" said Ayrault, "they are sending something else." The flashes came in rapid
succession, reaching far into space. With their glasses fixed upon them, they made out
these sentences: "Our telescopes, in whatever part of the earth was turned towards you,
have followed you since you started, and did not lose sight of you till you entered the
moon's shadow. On your present course you will be in darkness till 12.16, when we shall
see you again."
On receiving this last earthly message, the travellers sprang to their searchlight, and,
using its full power, telegraphed back the following: "Many thanks to you for good news
about earth, and to Secretary Deepwaters for lending us the navy. Result of work most
glorious. Remember us to everybody. Shadow's edge approaching."
This was read by the men in the great observatories, who evidently telephoned to the
arctic Signal Light immediately, for it flashed back: "Got your message perfectly. Wish
you greatest luck. The T. A. S. Co. has decked the Callisto's pedestal with flowers, and
has ordered a tablet set up on the site to commemorate your celestial journey."
At that moment the shadow swept by, and they were in the full blaze of cloudless day.
The change was so great that for a moment they were obliged to close their eyes. The
polished sides of the Callisto shone so brightly that they knew they were easily seen. The
power temporarily diverted in sending them the message then returned to the work of
draining the Arctic Ocean, which, as the north pole was now returning to the sun, was the
thing to do, and the travellers resumed their study of the heavenly bodies.