The First Men in the Moon – Day 42 of 82

“Some rare sort of animal,” I said, “might comfort himself in that way while they were bringing him to the Zoo…. It doesn’t follow that we are going to be shown all these things.”

“When they find we have reasonable minds,” said Cavor, “they will want to learn about the earth. Even if they have no generous emotions, they will teach in order to learn…. And the things they must know! The unanticipated things!”

He went on to speculate on the possibility of their knowing things he had never hoped to learn on earth, speculating in that way, with a raw wound from that goad already in his skin! Much that he said I forget, for my attention was drawn to the fact that the tunnel along which we had been marching was opening out wider and wider. We seemed, from the feeling of the air, to be going out into a huge space. But how big the space might really be we could not tell, because it was unlit. Our little stream of light ran in a dwindling thread and vanished far ahead. Presently the rocky walls had vanished altogether on either hand. There was nothing to be seen but the path in front of us and the trickling hurrying rivulet of blue phosphorescence. The figures of Cavor and the guiding Selenite marched before me, the sides of their legs and heads that were towards the rivulet were clear and bright blue, their darkened sides, now that the reflection of the tunnel wall no longer lit them, merged indistinguishably in the darkness beyond.

And soon I perceived that we were approaching a declivity of some sort, because the little blue stream dipped suddenly out of sight.

In another moment, as it seemed, we had reached the edge. The shining stream gave one meander of hesitation and then rushed over. It fell to a depth at which the sound of its descent was absolutely lost to us. Far below was a bluish glow, a sort of blue mist–at an infinite distance below. And the darkness the stream dropped out of became utterly void and black, save that a thing like a plank projected from the edge of the cliff and stretched out and faded and vanished altogether. There was a warm air blowing up out of the gulf.

For a moment I and Cavor stood as near the edge as we dared, peering into a blue-tinged profundity. And then our guide was pulling at my arm.

Then he left me, and walked to the end of that plank and stepped upon it, looking back. Then when he perceived we watched him, he turned about and went on along it, walking as surely as though he was on firm earth. For a moment his form was distinct, then he became a blue blur, and then vanished into the obscurity. I became aware of some vague shape looming darkly out of the black.

There was a pause. “Surely!–” said Cavor.

One of the other Selenites walked a few paces out upon the plank, and turned and looked back at us unconcernedly. The others stood ready to follow after us. Our guide’s expectant figure reappeared. He was returning to see why we had not advanced.

“What is that beyond there?” I asked.

“I can’t see.”

“We can’t cross this at any price,” said I.

“I could not go three steps on it,” said Cavor, “even with my hands free.”

We looked at each other’s drawn faces in blank consternation.

“They can’t know what it is to be giddy!” said Cavor.

“It’s quite impossible for us to walk that plank.”

“I don’t believe they see as we do. I’ve been watching them. I wonder if they know this is simply blackness for us. How can we make them understand?”

“Anyhow, we must make them understand.”

I think we said these things with a vague half hope the Selenites might somehow understand. I knew quite clearly that all that was needed was an explanation. Then as I saw their faces, I realised that an explanation was impossible. Just here it was that our resemblances were not going to bridge our differences. Well, I wasn’t going to walk the plank, anyhow. I slipped my wrist very quickly out of the coil of chain that was loose, and then began to twist my wrists in opposite directions. I was standing nearest to the bridge, and as I did this two of the Selenites laid hold of me, and pulled me gently towards it.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. (To tell the truth I don't even really care if you give me your email or not.)