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ored at another, the duplication of the though no intelligence lay behind the. lines may be an effect produced by the action of these lights, they were none progressive ripening from the middle of the less startling for being Nature's the fertile belts outwards. There is own flash lights across one hundred nothing very improbable about this millions of miles of space. It had taken view; nevertheless, it is not an alto- them nine minutes to make the journey; gether satisfactory solution of the puz- nine minutes before they had reached zle. In fact, the double canals on Mars earth they had ceased to be on Mars, tantalize astronomers by their extraor- and after their travel of one hundred dinary appearance, and the confession million of miles found to note them but has to be made that the mystery they one watcher, alone on a hill-top with contain has yet to be unravelled.

the dawn."

These bright flashes should not be FLASH LIGHTS.

confused with the bright proininences

sometimes observed on the planet's It has been suggested that the canals edge. The later were seen for the first on Mars are duplicated by the inhabi- time in 1890, and have since been detants to call the attention of terrestrial tected on every occasion when Mars ocastronomers to their planet-that, in cupied a good position in the heavens. fact, they are signals for us to decipher. They may be mountain-tops capped From their great length and their de- with snow like our own mountains, or velopment with the seasons, this opin- they may be white clouds floating in ion seems quite untenable, flattering the Martian atmosphere. Accepting though it is to the human mind.

Cer- the later interpretation (and it is the tain bright flashes, occasionally seen, more probable of the two), the conclupossess the characteristics of signals to sion is that Mars has an atmosphere a far greater degree. Mr. Lowell ob- similar to that surrounding the earth, served two flashes of this kind in 1894, and with clouds moving in it. Strange but he regards them as due to light re- flocculent white patches sometimes coyflected from an ice-slope. His pictur- er up permanent markings on the planesque description gives the facts addi. et's face, and their appearance, as well tional interest:—“As I was watching as their evanescent character, afford the planet,” he says, “I saw suddenly evidence of the existence of clouds in two points like stars flash out in the the Martian sky. midst of the polar cap. Dazzlingly bright upon the duller white back

POSSIBLE FORMS OF LIFE. ground of the snow, these stars shone for a few moments and then slowly dis- Mars thus possesses so many features appeared. The seeing at the time was in common with the earth that it is imvery good. It is at once evident what possible to resist the thought that it the other world apparitions were, not

also has inhabitants. This is, however, the fabled signal lights of Martian folk, by no means equivalent to saying that but the glint of ice-slopes flashing for Martian folk are constituted in the a moment earthward as the rotation of same way as human beings; indeed, the planet turned the slope to the proper every consideration points to the conangle; just as in sailing near

trary. Whatever atmosphere exists on glass-windowed house near set of sun, Mars must be much thinner than ours, you shall, for a moment or two, catch and far too rare to sustain the life of a dazzling glint of glory from its panes, a people with our limited lung capacity. which then vanishes as it came. But A race with immense chests could live

some

under such conditions, or a folk with and would, therefore, be able to move gills like fishes could pass a comfort- about in a sprightly fashion, so that able existence in spite of the rarefied an elephant there might be quite a nimair. The character of life anywhere is, ble animal. Mr. Lowell has pointed out in fact, moulded by the external cir- that to place the Martians under the cumstances, and as these are known to same condition as those in which we be different on Mars from what they exist the average inhabitant must be are on the earth, Martian inhabitants considered to be three times as large must have developed peculiar charac- and three times as heavy as the average teristics in order to adapt themselves human being; and the strength of the to their environments-the forms of Mars folk must exceed ours to even a life capable of flourishing in attenuated greater extent than the bulk and weight, air have survived, while those requir- for their muscles would be twenty-seving denser air have dropped out of ex- en times more effective. When this istence.

fact is considered, and also the deThe tenuity of the atmosphere of creased weight of bodies on Mars, it Mars is not the only fact which sug- appears that one Martian could do as gests that the inhabitants of that plan- much work as fifty or sixty men. A et are not fashioned after the image of Martian coalman could carry two and man. It is known beyond the possibil- a half tons with as little fatigue as our ity of doubt that the force with which own merchant can shoulder one huna substance is attracted to the surface dred-weight, and a Martian navvy digof Mars is but little more than a third ging a canal could easily throw over as strong as it is on the earth; or, to his shoulder a spade of earth so enorexpress the point in figures, one hun- mous that if a terrestrial excavator saw dred pounds on the earth would only it he would consider there should be a weigh thirty-eight pounds on Mars if limit to the amount of work to be done tested in a spring balance. In conse- by a man in a day. quence of this weaker pull, it would be possible for a human being to perform

TELESCOPIO LIMITATIONS. astonishing feats on Mars without excessive muscular exertion. A man who It must not for a moment be supposed could jump five feet here could top fif- that these statements as to the capabilteen there; he could lift three hundred- ity of doing work on Mars and on the weight by putting out the same strength earth are mere speculations, for they as is required to raise one hundred- are physical facts deduced from accuweight on the earth; he could spring rate determinations of the size and across a road as easily as he now leaps mass of the planet. But unimpeachaover a mud puddle, and a couple of ble as is the evidence of smaller gravibounds would carry him to the top of a tative force at the surface of Mars, and flight of stairs.

logical as may be the deductions thereBut, paradoxical as it may seem, the

from, no mathematical calculations, nor smaller the planet, and, consequently,

the finest optical instruments at present the less pull of gravity at its surface, known, nor the acutest reasoning, can the greater is the probability that its

afford the faintest information as to inhabitants are giants compared with the forms of life upon the planet. There Terrestrial giants are generally

is as yet no possibility of seeing any. weak in the knees; they are crushed by thing upon Mars less than thirty miles their own weight. But on Mars they across, and even a city of this dimenwould only weigh one-third as much, sion would only be visible as a minute

us.

speck. Our telescopes are thus not powerful enough to reveal any details which would prove the existence of sentient beings. All that can be said is that Mars is like the earth in so many respects that if life can exist anywhere beyond the earth, it exists there. But when we think of the multitudinous forms of life the earth bears at this age, and looking backwards along the corridors of time, we regard the strange creatures which were prominent in past epochs, we realize how inexplicably varied is animated nature, and are forced to confess that life on Mars may differ as much from our knowledge of vitality as the simple structure of The National Review.

jelly-fish differs from the complicated system of man.

We look at the bright orange-red disc of the planet as it glitters upon the vault of heaven, and we cherish the thought that it bears life of a higher form than the earth can boast. "Up there in that beautiful star, are angels," says the mother to her child. The thought is inspiring, but it is also gratifying to know that the earth appears as a lovely celestial object to Martian folk; it is their evening star, and if there are mothers on the planet, they probably point out our globe to their children as the place of rest and peace where the righteous find their reward.

R. A. Gregory.

a

THE COURTSHIP OF TAMBALA CHALMERS.

"Oh, yes, old Chalmers is here still," said M'Kechnie, in answer to a question of mine. “Not at the Mission, of course, but-"

“Why, of course?” I put in, hastily withdrawing my legs to admit of the passage of a small boy and a large bucket of water, on their way aft. The Explorer's deck space was limited, and, as O'Reilly had just opened the hatch to get out some stores, we had been obliged to remove our long chairs from that haven of refuge.

“Oh! I keep forgetting that you're new to the country,” said M'Kechnie, not without a quizzical gleam in his eye. "You'll hear the whole story soon enough. Chalmers had got above himself, you know-bad attack of swelled head, following on a visit to Cape Town -and began setting the clergy right on doctrinal points. So there was nothing for it but to part.”

"Is that the true version?" I asked, for there was an odd dryness in his enun

ciation which aroused my suspicions. I knew Mac of old-in fact, we had been at school together, many years before either of us ever thought of coming to Central Africa.

"I was not there when it happened," he replied, with dignity. “And you will please to remember that I am in the service of the Mission."

“Oh! all right," I muttered, hastily. "But what about Chalmers? Where is he now?"

“He works for Kalkbrenner-Ferreira, Kalkbrenner & Co., you know. Old Kalkbrenner gives him £50 a year and a house, and finds him well worth it; for, after all, he's an honest fellow, and capable in his way, though he is such a terribly pragmatical old ass. You'll see him when we get to Port Livingstone. Kalkbrenner has a store and a

coffee plantation there, and Chalmers looks after them, and keeps the books, and pays the boys, and all."

"How did he get that name?

mers.

a

"Picked it up at one of the Missions, I suppose, and it sticks to him. He's been quite a traveller, has Dr. Chal

Went down to Kilwa, first of all, in a slave-gang, when he was a laddie often or twelve-he was called Tambala then-was put on board dhow and taken off by a British mano'-war, and landed at Zanzibar. Then he came up country with Bishop Steere to try and find his own people again, and finally drifted to this neighborhood. He's seen a deal of life one way and another. When he was baptized he was called David and his full name on the Church Register is David Tambala Chalmers."

"Tambala means a cock, doesn't it?" I asked. I was making tentative plunges into the native language with the help of the Mission grammar and dictionary.

Yes-suits him best of the three, I think. But you'll see for yourself. He's a caution."

I believe that, as we thus conversed, we were about six miles from Port Liv. ingstone, as the crow flies. But unluckily, as some one has remarked, we were not crows; and the winding course of the river, the strength of its current (it was at this time in full flood), the state of the Explorer's engines, and the general cussedness of things delayed our arrival till sunset on the following day.

I saw before me a neat, whitewashed house, grass-thatched, rounded by a broad veranda, and shaded by a group of fan-palms. Down the path which led from the front door came a tall native, dressed in a linen suit with a pith helmet on his head.

“There he is,” said M'Kechnie_"I suppose he is coming on board.”

It took some time to get the Explorer warped in to the bank, and while this was taking place I lost sight of the white figure in a crowd of shouting, hurrying natives; indeed, I was

much absorbed in the details of the scene—it was my first experience of the country that had interested me all my life-that I forgot all about him for a while. Presently I became aware that the boy who had been attending on me during the voyage-himself a former pupil of the Mission-was standing beside me grinning from ear to ear.

“This is Dr. Chalmers, sir!” he said, with the air of one exhibiting a valuable and interesting product of the country, and waved his hand majestically towards the individual in question, who raised his helmet, and advanced with a sweeping bow.

“Mr. Hay, sir, I have much pleasure to make your acquaintance. I have heard of you from Mr. Vyner, sir. He tells me you come to assist him in developing the resources of this country. It is a fine country, sir-a mag-ni-fi-cent country; but we need appliances, the appliances of civilization."

I felt inclined to sit down and gasp feebly-quite overwhelmed by this torrent of eloquence-delivered quietly enough, and with a fairly good English accent. How much more I might have heard about the resources of the country and the appliances of civilization I cannot tell—M'Kechnie intervened.

"I say, Chalmers, can you put Mr. Hay up for the night? He won't be able to start for Masuku this evening."

“Oh, yes-s!” said Dr. Chalmers, with dignity. “Mr. Vyner wrote to me that Mr. Hay was coming, and directed me to have an apartment in readiness. It was ready yesterday, Mr. M'Kechnie, and I have called Mr. Hay's carriers; they will start tomorrow at peep of day."

M'Kechnie attempted no reply-he was probably appalled at the splendor of Dr. Chalmers's diction; but he stole a sly wink at me.

At this juncture the Explorer's skipper walked up, red in the face from recent exertions, and mopping bimself

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with a handkerchief originally intended that carries a note-book and a fountain for the native trade, and conspicuously pen in me pockets, an' it's downright ill adorned with palm-trees and elephants. I've been with sucking the ink of that

"Hey! here's the Reverend Doctor! same when it wouldn't draw, not to How's yourself, me boy? and how's the mintion the ink dryi up wid the climissis?"

mate, to stand before the thermometer Dr. Chalmers drew himself up with and note the exact timperature for fear dignity. “Circumstances have occurred I'd be forgettin' it when I wrote me to postpone my marriage," he said, diary at night!" freezingly; and his eye rested

“We're all looking forward to the M'Kechnie with an expression which book you're going to write when you seemed to say that, but for that gentle- go home, O'Reilly," said M'Kechnie. man's presence, he would have said "And yet you'll not trust me to tell more.

the story of the doctor there an' his colO'Reilly slapped him on the back and - leen dhu?—for colleen bawn she is not, laughed uproariously.

though as purty an' neat a crathur of "Parson forbidden the banns, hey, her color as ever I've seen. Faith, I've Chalmers ? Sure, and it's myself would had thoughts of asking her to be Mrs. be doing the same if I were he, an' you O'Reilly meself; but then, you see, I'd afther thryin' to inveigle me best dairy- be afther havin' to git a dispinsation, maid."

an' our clargy is terribly down on mixed The native did not reply. It was

mar'ges of late. Not to mintion that easy to see that he did not enjoy Mozambique is the nearest place it O'Reilly's chaff, but he betrayed no an- could be got.” noyance, only turned to me and asked “Never heed his clavers, Hay," said quietly if I would like to come ashore M'Kechnie. “The matter seems to be now. So far as I could judge, it was that Chalmers, who is a widower of only his choice of words that was some- some years' standing, and has two litwhat extravagant; there were no Chris- tle girls under ten-I'm sorry for him ty Minstrel antics about him, and, in myself, for he's anxious to do his duty manner at least, I was inclined to think and bring them up decently, and it's -with no disrespect to our tempestuous sore on a man, as you'll allow-wanted but good-natured friend-that he was to marry one of the Christian girls at more of a gentleman than O'Reilly. the Mission."

"What's this about his marriage?” I "Well, and why shouldn't he? Is asked M'Kechnie, presently, Dr. Chal- there any just cause or impediment?” mers having gone ashore to get my lug- M’Kechnie seemed slightly embargage taken up to the house, while rassed. O'Reilly was superintending the hoist- “They say the girl herself didn't ing of the same out of the hold.

want him. And, of course, Dr. Angus "I don't quite know. I've been away couldn't help that.” down river for the last three months; "That's the offeecial varsion, Mac, me I heard about it from O'Reilly, but, you bhoy,” said O'Reilly, with exaggerated know, a story with him never loses in mimicry of M'Kechnie's accent, which, the telling—"

by-the-by, was broad enough to sit on, "What's that?" exclaimed the sub- and he rather prided himself

on it. ject of this last remark, who was near- “Dr. Angus didn't want to lose a useful er us at the moment than M'Kechnie crathur, and Mrs. A.'s pet pupil-an' bargained for. “Me, the veracious them at all the trouble and expense of chronicler of British Equatoria? Me, her trainin'-as they would do if she

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