I may here mention that the system of sewage is far superior to any yet devised on Earth. No particle of waste is allowed to pollute the waters. The whole is deodorised by an exceedingly simple process, and, whether in town or country, carried away daily and applied to its natural use in fertilising the soil. Our practice of throwing away, where it is an obvious and often dangerous nuisance, material so valuable in its proper place, seemed to my Martial friends an inexplicable and almost incredible absurdity.
As we returned, Esmo told me that he had been in communication with the Campta, who had desired that I should visit him with the least possible delay.
“This,” he said, “will hurry us in matters where I at any rate should have preferred a little delay. The seat of Government is by a direct route nearly six thousand miles distant, and you will have opportunity of travelling in all the different ways practised on this planet. A long land-journey in our electric carriages, with which you are not familiar, is, I think, to be avoided. The Campta would wish to see your vessel as well as yourself; but, on the whole, I think it is safer to leave it where it is. Kevima, and I propose to accompany you during the first part of your journey. At our first halt, we will stay one night with a friend, that you may be admitted a brother of our Order.”
“And,” said I, “what sort of a reception may I expect at the end of my journey?”
“I think,” he answered, “that you are more likely to be embarrassed by the goodwill of the Campta than by the hostility of some of those about him. His character is very peculiar, and it is difficult to reckon upon his action in any given case. But he differs from nearly all his subjects in having a strong taste for adventure, none the less if it be perilous; and since his position prevents him from indulging this taste in person, he is the more disposed to take extreme interest in the adventures of others. He has, moreover, a great value for what you call courage, a virtue rarely needed and still more rarely shown among us; and I fancy that your venture through space has impressed him with a very high estimate of your daring. Assuredly none of us, however great his scientific curiosity, would have dreamed of incurring such a peril, and incurring it alone. But I must give you one warning. It is not common among us to make valuable gifts: we do not care enough for any but ourselves to give except with the idea of getting something valuable in return. Our princes are, however, so wealthy that they can give without sacrifice, and it is considered a grave affront to refuse any present from a superior. Whatever, then, our Suzerain may offer you—and he is almost sure, unless he should take offence, to give you whatever he thinks will induce you to settle permanently in the neighbourhood of his Court—you must accept graciously, and on no account, either then or afterwards, lead him to think that you slight his present.”