The Coming Race HTML version

Chapter 16
I have spoken so much of the Vril Staff that my reader may expect me to describe it. This
I cannot do accurately, for I was never allowed to handle it for fear of some terrible
accident occasioned by my ignorance of its use; and I have no doubt that it requires much
skill and practice in the exercise of its various powers. It is hollow, and has in the handle
several stops, keys, or springs by which its force can be altered, modified, or directed- so
that by one process it destroys, by another it heals- by one it can rend the rock, by another
disperse the vapour- by one it affects bodies, by another it can exercise a certain influence
over minds. It is usually carried in the convenient size of a walking-staff, but it has slides
by which it can be lengthened or shortened at will. When used for special purposes, the
upper part rests in the hollow of the palm with the fore and middle fingers protruded. I
was assured, however, that its power was not equal in all, but proportioned to the amount
of certain vril properties in the wearer in affinity, or 'rapport' with the purposes to be
effected. Some were more potent to destroy, others to heal, &c.; much also depended on
the calm and steadiness of volition in the manipulator. They assert that the full exercise of
vril power can only be acquired by the constitutional temperament- i.e., by hereditarily
transmitted organisation- and that a female infant of four years old belonging to the Vril-
ya races can accomplish feats which a life spent in its practice would not enable the
strongest and most skilled mechanician, born out of the pale of the Vril-ya to achieve. All
these wands are not equally complicated; those intrusted to children are much simpler
than those borne by sages of either sex, and constructed with a view to the special object
on which the children are employed; which as I have before said, is among the youngest
children the most destructive. In the wands of wives and mothers the correlative
destroying force is usually abstracted, the healing power fully charged. I wish I could say
more in detail of this singular conductor of the vril fluid, but its machinery is as exquisite
as its effects are marvellous.
I should say, however, that this people have invented certain tubes by which the vril fluid
can be conducted towards the object it is meant to destroy, throughout a distance almost
indefinite; at least I put it modestly when I say from 500 to 600 miles. And their
mathematical science as applied to such purpose is so nicely accurate, that on the report
of some observer in an air-boat, any member of the vril department can estimate
unerringly the nature of intervening obstacles, the height to which the projectile
instrument should be raised, and the extent to which it should be charged, so as to reduce
to ashes within a space of time too short for me to venture to specify it, a capital twice as
vast as London.
Certainly these Ana are wonderful mathematicians- wonderful for the adaptation of the
inventive faculty to practical uses.
I went with my host and his daughter Zee over the great public museum, which occupies
a wing in the College of Sages, and in which are hoarded, as curious specimens of the
ignorant and blundering experiments of ancient times, many contrivances on which we
pride ourselves as recent achievements. In one department, carelessly thrown aside as