Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.
abolished infirmity of advancing years.  The countenance alone bore no marks of old age.  It was full, unwrinkled, firm in physical as in moral character; calm in the unresisted power of intellect and will over the passions, serene in a dignity too absolute and self-contained for pride, but expressing a consciousness of command over others as evident as the unconscious, effortless command of self to which it owed its supreme and sublime quietude.  The lips were not set as with a habit of reserve or self-restraint, but close and even as in the repose to which restraint had never been necessary.  The features were large, clearly defined, and perfect in shape, proportion, and outline.  The brow was massive and broad, but strangely smooth and even; the head had no single marked development or deficiency that could have enlightened a phrenologist, as the face told no tale that a physiognomist could read.  The dark deep eyes were unescapable; while in presence of the portrait you could not for a moment avoid or forget their living, fixed, direct look into your own.  Even in the painted representation of that gaze, almost too calm in its absolute mastery to be called searching or scrutinising, yet seeming to look through the eyes into the soul, there was an almost mesmeric influence; as if, across the abyss of ten thousand years, the Master could still control the wills and draw forth the inner thoughts of the living, as he had dominated the spirits of their remotest ancestors.

CHAPTER IX — MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.

Next morning Esmo asked me to accompany him on a visit to the seaport I have mentioned.  In the course of this journey I had opportunities of learning many things respecting the social and practical conditions of human life and industry on Mars that had hitherto been unknown to me, and to appreciate the enormous advance in material civilisation which has accompanied what seems to me, as it would probably seem to any other Earth-dweller, a terrible moral degeneration.  Most of these things I learned partly from my own observation, partly from the explanations of my companion; some exclusively from what he told me.  We passed a house in process of building, and here I learned the manner in which the wonders of domestic architecture, which had so surprised me by their perfection and beauty, are accomplished.  The material employed in all buildings is originally liquid, or rather viscous.  In the first place, the foundation is excavated to a depth of two or three feet, the ground beaten hard, and the liquid concrete poured into the level tank thus formed.  When this has hardened sufficiently to admit of their erection, thin frames of metal are erected, enclosing the spaces to be occupied by the several outer and interior walls.

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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