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Man In The Moon

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It was tbe last day of the late great irost, and, uumindful of tny 50 odd rears, I uudertook to skate 20 milos or j so along the f rozen Lea. Wheu I relurned home, 1 was tired - so tired that scarcely was I seated in my armchair tvben I found myself noddinf;, and unioubtedly 1 should have fallen asleep iiad not an exceedingly strange circumstance happeiied. To be brief, then, I was lifted from I my chair in my home ia north London, - whirlod throngh space for a couple of liours and then deposited gently but Brmly on the moon. Scarcely had I recovcred my breath I when an agod man of venerable aspect, whom I at once recognized as the man ! in the moon, ipproached me and j quired my business. I explained that 1 was an involuutary trespasser on his hospitality, and tlien, thinking as I was ! there I might as well learn something about the history of oursatellite and its inhabitants - supposing there were any - I proceeded as respectfully as might be to quostiou the old fellow. "Yes; you are right, " he exclaimed in answer to my query as he placed the load of fagots he was carrying on a projecting mass of granite and rested his back against the cone of an extinct volcano. "I have seen a lot of changes in my time. How old am I? Well, 1 don 't know exactly, but it is soine millions of years ago since my first birthday. "Why, bless my heart, when I waa a lad, this old dried up moon was as bright and fresh as your earth is now. - "Seassparkled in tbesunlight, brooks gleamed and flasbed throngh the valleys and forests clothed with verdure the mountains now dead and silent. Aye, these were glorious times. The birds sang in the woods froru early dawn to nightfall, the fishes leaped and plashed and leaped and plashed again in every eddy and pool of our prehistorie rivers. Great mammals, sonae uncontb and some beautiful, but mostly the latter, roamod at will araid tho gla'des.of our mighty forests. Theu, after a million years or so, man carne. " "Man?" I repeated incredulously. "Yes, man," he reiterated rather testily. "Man, of course. Do you think your earth alone has been the home of man? I teil you he lived and flourished here while the earth was yet fcrmless and void, a vast white hot mass of semifluid granite. At first he was weak 'for lack of knowledge, and fought - often unsuccessfully - with the wild beasts of the forests for food and drink and raiment. Then as he grew older he grew wiser and carved for himself weapons of flintand wood, just as the earth man did a million or two years afterward. Our lunar men were very clever, too - very clever. Not so large or so strong as terrestrial man, perhaps, but quicker to learn. Wby, it did uot take us more than 200,000 years to perfect our civilization. " "And what happened then?" was my next query. "Ah, there you have asked aquestion hard to answer," quoth the old man sadly. "All I know is that one year there carne a blight over all things. It was not exactly a plague. It was rather a want of vitality in the atmosphere that reacted with terrible effect on all anircato roture. Man, boing tho most bighly oru.inized of all thiuKfl living, was tbö first to feel its baneíuí ciïVr'ts, and he d vindled and pint! ;uJ ü;i dly pyrishcd, and the places l::::i b;id boon wout to kuow him knew him uu luure forever. "Thf;ü ;ís thesunny atu:ospLi ro ;.-:■ 'v iaor3 and iiioru atteauated thü luumals first and ifterward every form of animal life grew oold and daad. Tho lowest forius of plant life liugered for a few thousand years longer, until the last drop of water had evaporuted into epace, in fact, aud then tliuy, too, vanished, and the moon was left as you see it today, a dcad world, without heat, atmosphere or moisture. ' ' "A sad f ate surely, but you must [ havo becomeresigned, " 1 said ly, for the old man was sighing heaviïy and gazing fixedly into space as though he saw again the lost visious of lone livers he had been d3scribing. "No, I am not resigned, " and he shook his head slowly from side to side. "Both mysolf and my sister look forward to better times to come. " "Your sister?" I exclaimed wonderingly. "I was not aware" - "That I bad a sister?" he interrupted. "Oh, yes, I have, but I forgotl Of course ou have never seen her, She lives on the side of the njoon opposite to the earth, amid mountains and valleys, upon whose bold outlines no earthly eyo has ever gazed. It is by far the best side of the moon, too, but she is getting rather tired of living there and talks about changing places with me. I expeet you would be rather sur pr i sed down bclow tbere if some iinn day - or uight, rathor - yon round a womau in the moon ; instearl of aman. IIu, ha, hal" and forgetfnl of bia n 1 1 :it fit i : ihe blues the okl ch:;p gave vnt to a !;■ .irty gnffaw. "We sbou! ! : . ; !., " 1 replied, ' lauabing in iiijr tijm, ". . -VJUüh I falioy, ! niil".;.; yönrsisti i 's .t ucé difiera in ja iiKai:r. ik-;,--. ■ ij i venr OWll, that we s,1:!,;.1 , ■ ,jt;ly be ble to distillg ii theMiJ uce. Y. must ai il yourüelf that ojio mcsl ; od cyö i sight to teil a nia; from a woiaan 210, 000 milca ï.'.j. " '"Oh, bnt," auswered tho old man, ! vrith a touch of famüy prMo, "she ís a I fine woman! Not bent and bower! with age Hice me lartecd she is really 6,000,0Ü0 years younger than am I, Then, of cours, she dresses in- in" - "Tba habiiiiaeiits suitable to her sex, " I say. "Precisely, and, like all the women j here, is fond of dress. Why, when I last visited her, some 25,000 years ago, alinost her first question was, 'How do tho women dress now on the earth?' Of course there wasu't much to teil her because - well, the women of that day didn't trouble themselves much about ' dress, but I am tiiáiking of paying her j another visit .oon, and then I shallhave a different budget of news for her. " "Bnt teil n;e,"l interrupted, f or I was not mncli interested in the old felI low's sister, "something about the earth. You must have seen almost as great changas iu the earth as in the moon." "Almest, " was the answer, "but not juite. My world is cold and dead. ïours is still alive, as was mine ouce, jut your turn will come some day, and hen wo shall both go circling through space, cold, sileut and lifeless. But ihat, " he continued, "will be many millons of j'eurs from now, almost as tuany millions as it is since I first set syes on your planet. Then, as I said before, it was a mere mass of molten matter - a vast white hot ball whirling rouud the sun and carrying me with it. I remember as tbough it were yesterday the first beginning of earthly life. At first the seas covered everything, and beautiful specimens of marine flora floated everywhere upon the surface of ;he water, while in its translucent ilopths flshes of strange form and glolious coloring disported themselves. Tben the dry land began to appear, and by slow degrees the great forests that shrouded as with a mactle all the earth not covered by the waters. For millions of years what you are pleased to cal! the lower animáis wtre the only denizens of their somber depths, and even after man came it was hundreds ol t thousands of years before he even partially doniinattid the face of nature. " "But was there not, " I asked, "an ice age?" "A what?" he exclaimed, with a puzzled expression of countenance. "An ice age," I repeated. "A period of tiiuo when the ice, which, as you are aware, is alwaya present at the polcs, spread northward and southward until it enveloped almost the entire globe." "Oh, yes," responded mine host, with the air of a man trying to recall I sonio long forgotten and altogether trivial incident. "1 believe something of the kind did happen, and not more than 100,000 or 150,000 years ago uither. Bnt it only lasted about 20,000 years, and I had quite forgotten all about it nntil you mentioned it. " This coucluded the interview, for although I NYonlri havo liked to have pursued my inquines further the old chap suddenly snatehed up his bundie, bent his back and resumed his orthodox positiou, at the same time indicatiug by a gestnre that he was not inclined for any further conversation. ' 'We are right over Greonwich observatory, " he explained in answer to my look of surprise, "and 1 don't want the astronouaers there to tee me without my bundie and talking to a stranger too. Itisn't


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