A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version
"They seem to be as bright as sixteen-candle-power lamps, but the light is yellower, and
appears to emanate from a comparatively large surface, certainly nine or ten inches
square," said the doctor.
They soon gave up the chase, however, for the lights were continually moving and
frequently went out. While groping in the growing darkness, they came upon a brown
object about the size of a small dog and close to the ground. It flew off with a humming
insect sound, and as it did so it showed the brilliant phosphorescent glow they had
"That is a good-sized fire-fly," said Bearwarden. "Evidently the insects here are on the
same scale as everything else. They are like the fire-flies in Cuba, which the Cubans are
said to put into a glass box and get light enough from to read by. Here they would need
only one, if it could be induced to give its light continuously." Having found an open
space on high ground, they sat down, and Bearwarden struck his repeater, which, for
convenience, had been arranged for Jupiter time, dividing the day into ten hours,
beginning at noon, midnight being therefore five o'clock.
"Twenty minutes past four," said he, "which would correspond to about a quarter to
eleven on earth. As the sun rises at half-past seven, it will be dark about three hours, for
the time between dawn and daylight will, of course, be as short as that we have just
experienced between sunset and night."
"If we stay here long," said the doctor, "I suppose we shall become accustomed, like
sailors, to taking our four, or in this case five, hours on duty, and five hours off."
"Or," added Ayrault, "we can sleep ten consecutive hours and take the next ten for
exploring and hunting, having the sun for one half the time and the moons for the other."
Bearwarden and Cortlandt now rolled themselves in their blankets and were soon asleep,
while Ayrault, whose turn it was to watch till the moons rose--for they had not yet
enough confidence in their new domain to sleep in darkness simultaneously--leaned his
back against a rock and lighted his pipe. In the distance he saw the torrents of fiery lava
from the volcanoes reflected in the sky, and faintly heard their thunderous crashes, while
the fire-flies twinkled unconcernedly in the hollow, and the night winds swayed the
fernlike branches. Then he gazed at the earth, which, but little above the horizon, shone
with a faint but steady ray, and his mind's eye ran beyond his natural vision while he
pictured to himself the girl of his heart, wishing that by some communion of spirits he
might convey his thoughts to her, and receive hers. It was now the first week of January
on earth. He could almost see her house and the snow-clad trees in the park, and knew
that at that hour she was dressing for dinner, and hoped and believed that he was in her
heart. While he thus mused, one moon after another rose, each at a different phase, till
three were at once in the sky. Adjusting the electric protection- wires that were to
paralyze any creature that attempted to come within the circle, and would arouse them by
ringing a bell, he knocked the ashes from his pipe, rolled himself in a blanket, and was
soon asleep beside his friends.