The Coming Race HTML version

Chapter 9
It was not for some time, and until, by repeated trances, if they are to be so called, my
mind became better prepared to interchange ideas with my entertainers, and more fully to
comprehend differences of manners and customs, at first too strange to my experience to
be seized by my reason, that I was enabled to gather the following details respecting the
origin and history of the subterranean population, as portion of one great family race
called the Ana.
According to the earliest traditions, the remote progenitors of the race had once tenanted
a world above the surface of that in which their descendants dwelt. Myths of that world
were still preserved in their archives, and in those myths were legends of a vaulted dome
in which the lamps were lighted by no human hand. But such legends were considered by
most commentators as allegorical fables. According to these traditions the earth itself, at
the date to which the traditions ascend, was not indeed in its infancy, but in the throes and
travail of transition from one form of development to another, and subject to many
violent revolutions of nature. By one of such revolutions, that portion of the upper world
inhabited by the ancestors of this race had been subjected to inundations, not rapid, but
gradual and uncontrollable, in which all, save a scanty remnant, were submerged and
perished. Whether this be a record of our historical and sacred Deluge, or of some earlier
one contended for by geologists, I do not pretend to conjecture; though, according to the
chronology of this people as compared with that of Newton, it must have been many
thousands of years before the time of Noah. On the other hand, the account of these
writers does not harmonise with the opinions most in vogue among geological
authorities, inasmuch as it places the existence of a human race upon earth at dates long
anterior to that assigned to the terrestrial formation adapted to the introduction of
mammalia. A band of the ill-fated race, thus invaded by the Flood, had, during the march
of the waters, taken refuge in caverns amidst the loftier rocks, and, wandering through
these hollows, they lost sight of the upper world forever. Indeed, the whole face of the
earth had been changed by this great revulsion; land had been turned into sea- sea into
land. In the bowels of the inner earth, even now, I was informed as a positive fact, might
be discovered the remains of human habitation- habitation not in huts and caverns, but in
vast cities whose ruins attest the civilisation of races which flourished before the age of
Noah, and are not to be classified with those genera to which philosophy ascribes the use
of flint and the ignorance of iron.
The fugitives had carried with them the knowledge of the arts they had practised above
ground- arts of culture and civilisation. Their earliest want must have been that of
supplying below the earth the light they had lost above it; and at no time, even in the
traditional period, do the races, of which the one I now sojourned with formed a tribe,
seem to have been unacquainted with the art of extracting light from gases, or
manganese, or petroleum. They had been accustomed in their former state to contend
with the rude forces of nature; and indeed the lengthened battle they had fought with their
conqueror Ocean, which had taken centuries in its spread, had quickened their skill in
curbing waters into dikes and channels. To this skill they owed their preservation in their