With infinite complacency
men 6 went to and fro over
this globe 7 about
their 6 little affairs , serene in
their 6 assurance of
their 6 empire over matter .
It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same .
No one 8 gave a thought to
as sources of human danger , or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable .
the older worlds of
space 10 9
It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days .
terrestrial men 11 fancied there might be
other men 12 upon
Mars 13 , perhaps inferior to
themselves 11 and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise .
Yet across the gulf of
space 10 , minds that are to
our 14 minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish , intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic , regarded
this earth 2 with envious eyes , and slowly and surely drew
their 15 plans against
us 16 .
And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment .
The planet Mars 13 ,
I 17 scarcely need remind
the reader 18 , revolves about
the sun 19 at a mean distance of 140,000,000 miles , and the light and heat
it 13 receives from
the sun 19 is barely half of that received by
this world 2 .
It 13 must be , if the nebular hypothesis has any truth , older than ; and long before
this earth 2 ceased to be molten , life upon
its 13 surface must have begun its course .
The fact that
it 13 is scarcely one seventh of the volume of
the earth 2 must have accelerated
its 13 cooling to the temperature at which life could begin .
It 13 has air and water and all that is necessary for the support of animated existence .
Yet so vain is
man 21 , and so blinded by
his 21 vanity , that
no writer 22 , up to the very end of the nineteenth century , expressed any idea that intelligent life might have developed
there 13 far , or indeed at all , beyond its earthly level .
Nor was it generally understood that since
Mars 13 is older than , with scarcely a quarter of the superficial area and remoter from
the sun 19 , it necessarily follows that
it 13 is not only more distant from time 's beginning but nearer its end .
The secular cooling that must someday overtake has already gone far indeed with .
Its 13 physical condition is still largely a mystery , but
we 26 know now that even in
its 13 equatorial region the midday temperature barely approaches that of
our 27 coldest winter .
Its 13 air is much more attenuated than ours , have shrunk until they cover but a third of , and as
its 13 slow seasons change
huge snowcaps 30 gather and melt about
either pole 31 and periodically inundate
temperate zones 32
That last stage of exhaustion , which to
us 33 is still incredibly remote , has become a present-day problem for
the inhabitants of
Mars 13 0
The immediate pressure of necessity has brightened
their 0 intellects , enlarged
their 0 powers , and hardened
their 0 hearts .
And looking across space with instruments , and intelligences such as
we 34 have scarcely dreamed of ,
they 0 see , at
its 35 nearest distance only 35,000,000 of miles sunward of
them 0 ,
a morning star of hope 35 ,
own warmer planet , green with vegetation and grey with water , with a cloudy atmosphere eloquent of fertility , with glimpses through
drifting cloud wisps of broad stretches of
populous country 37
narrow , navy-crowded seas 38 89
, must be to
the creatures who inhabit
this earth 2 90
them 0 at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to
us 41 .
The intellectual side of
man 42 already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence , and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon
Mars 13 .
is far gone in
its 13 cooling and
this world 2 is still crowded with life , but crowded only with what
they 0 regard as inferior animals .
To carry warfare sunward is , indeed ,
their 0 only escape from the destruction that , generation after generation , creeps upon
them 0 .
we 43 judge of
them 0 too harshly
we 44 must remember what ruthless and utter destruction has wrought , not only upon animals , such as the vanished bison and the dodo , but upon
its 45 inferior races .
The Tasmanians 47 , in spite of
human 48 likeness , were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by
European immigrants 49 , in the space of fifty years .
such apostles of mercy 91 as to complain if
the Martians 0 warred in the same spirit ?
The Martians 0 seem to have calculated
their 0 descent with amazing subtlety --
their 0 mathematical learning is evidently far in excess of ours -- and to have carried out
their 0 preparations with a well-nigh perfect unanimity .
our 51 instruments permitted it ,
we 52 might have seen the gathering trouble far back in the nineteenth century .
watched the red planet -- it is odd , by-the-bye , that for countless centuries
Schiaparelli 54 53
Mars 13 has been
the star of war 92 -- but failed to interpret the fluctuating appearances of the markings
they 53 mapped so well .
All that time
the Martians 0 must have been getting ready .
During the opposition of 1894 a great light was seen on the illuminated part of the disk , first at
the Lick Observatory 55 , then by , and then by
other observers 58 .
English readers 59 heard of it first in the issue of _ Nature _ dated August 2 .
I 17 am inclined to think that this blaze may have been the casting of the huge gun , in the vast pit sunk into
their 0 planet , from which
their 0 shots were fired at
us 60 .
Peculiar markings , as yet unexplained , were seen near
the site of that outbreak 61 during the next two oppositions .
The storm burst upon
us 62 six years ago now .
Mars 13 approached opposition , set the wires of the astronomical exchange palpitating with the amazing intelligence of a huge outbreak of incandescent gas upon the planet .
It had occurred towards midnight of the twelfth ; and the spectroscope , to which
he 63 had at once resorted , indicated a mass of flaming gas , chiefly hydrogen , moving with an enormous velocity towards
this earth 2 .
This jet of fire had become invisible about a quarter past twelve .
He 63 compared it to a colossal puff of flame suddenly and violently squirted out of the planet , " as flaming gases rushed out of a gun . "
A singularly appropriate phrase it proved .
Yet the next day there was nothing of this in the papers except a little note in the _ Daily Telegraph _ , and
the world 65 went in ignorance of one of the gravest dangers that ever threatened
the human race 66 .
I 17 might not have heard of the eruption at all had
I 17 not met
Ogilvy 67 ,
the well-known astronomer 88 , at
Ottershaw 68 .
He 67 was immensely excited at the news , and in the excess of
his 67 feelings invited
me 17 up to take a turn with
him 67 that night in a scrutiny of
the red planet 13 .
In spite of all that has happened since ,
I 17 still remember that vigil very distinctly :
the black and silent observatory 69 , the shadowed lantern throwing a feeble glow upon the floor in the corner , the steady ticking of the clockwork of the telescope , the little slit in the roof -- an oblong profundity with the stardust streaked across it .
Ogilvy 67 moved about , invisible but audible .
Looking through the telescope , one saw a circle of deep blue and
the little round planet swimming in the field 13 .
It seemed such a little thing , so bright and small and still , faintly marked with transverse stripes , and slightly flattened from the perfect round .
But so little it was , so silvery warm -- a pin 's - head of light !
It was as if it quivered , but really this was the telescope vibrating with the activity of the clockwork that kept
the planet 13 in view .
I 17 watched ,
the planet 13 seemed to grow larger and smaller and to advance and recede , but that was simply that
my 17 eye was tired .
Forty millions of miles it was from
us 70 -- more than forty millions of miles of void .
Few people 71 realise the immensity of vacancy in which the dust of the material universe swims .
Near it in
the field 72 ,
I 17 remember , were
three faint points of light 73 ,
three telescopic stars infinitely remote 74 , and all around it was the unfathomable darkness of
empty space 75 .
You 76 know how that blackness looks on a frosty starlight night .
In a telescope it seems far profounder .
And invisible to
me 17 because it was so remote and small , flying swiftly and steadily towards
me 17 across that incredible distance , drawing nearer every minute by so many thousands of miles , came the Thing
they 0 were sending
us 77 , the Thing that was to bring so much struggle and calamity and death to
the earth 2 .
I 17 never dreamed of it then as
I 17 watched ; dreamed of that unerring missile .
That night , too , there was another jetting out of gas from
the distant planet 13 .
I 17 saw it .
A reddish flash at the edge , the slightest projection of the outline just as the chronometer struck midnight ; and at that
I 17 told
Ogilvy 67 and
he 67 took
my 17 place .
The night was warm and
I 17 was thirsty , and
I 17 went stretching
my 17 legs clumsily and feeling
my 17 way in the darkness , to the little table where the siphon stood , while
Ogilvy 67 exclaimed at the streamer of gas that came out towards
us 79 .
That night another invisible missile started on its way to
the earth 2 from
Mars 13 , just a second or so under twenty-four hours after the first one .
I 17 remember how
I 17 sat on the table there in the blackness , with patches of green and crimson swimming before
my 17 eyes .
I 17 wished
I 17 had a light to smoke by , little suspecting the meaning of the minute gleam
I 17 had seen and all that it would presently bring
me 17 .
Ogilvy 67 watched till one , and then gave it up ; and
we 80 lit the lantern and walked over to .
Down below in the darkness were
Ottershaw 68 and
Chertsey 82 and
, sleeping in peace .
hundreds of people 83
He 67 was full of speculation that night about the condition of
Mars 13 , and scoffed at the vulgar idea of its having
inhabitants who were signalling
us 86 85
His 67 idea was that meteorites might be falling in a heavy shower upon
the planet 13 , or that a huge volcanic explosion was in progress .
He 67 pointed out to
me 17 how unlikely it was that organic evolution had taken the same direction in
the two adjacent planets 87 .