A thousand questions to put to my Martian acquaintance rushed into my mind, but alas, in supposing that I could not come in contact with Mars on account of cloud obscurity, I had lost much of the precious time, and now the waning light on my instrument warned me that the planet would, in a few moments, pass out of range. We therefore hastily bade each other adieu, promising to continue our conversation on the morrow, as though we had parted at a street corner. The light now faded completely, and the instrument, that a few moments previously had been animated with such an exuberance of life and mystery, now stood before me wrapped in profound darkness and silence.
How impossible, how inconceivable it all seemed! How the outside world would scoff if I attempted to explain or publish my discovery! I felt that the time had not yet come to take anyone into my confidence, and I determined still to keep all a secret. I was then unaware, however, that the more I learned of Mars and its people the more closely I would guard my knowledge.
Pacing excitedly up and down my laboratory, I spent most of the night in reviewing what I had heard, and speculating the rare knowledge that the morrow would bring. The secrets of another world would be unfolded to me, and the scientific achievements of a people over a thousand years in advance of us would be mine. What glorious possibilities this disclosed! What a brilliant future as a scientist such knowledge would assure me! And in the exuberance of my spirits I little thought that the possession of this knowledge would come to mean naught to me; for I had yet to learn that man cannot share the riches of another world without also becoming a partner in its sorrows and its passions.
The story of Martian life.
With a determination of finding a room from which I could command a longer view of Mars, the next day I visited several studios which were for rent, and finally succeeded in securing one formerly occupied by a photographer, which was located on the top floor of a house in the immediate vicinity of my old rooms.
The room was large, in fact it occupied the entire top floor of the building, and this feature pleased me greatly. The only communication with the house was by a door which had every appearance of an outside door, so heavy were the hinges and lock. The landlord, in drawing my attention to this, had smiled and remarked that the former tenant, who lived in another section of the city, had been very careful always to leave his studio securely locked. The ceiling of half the room was entirely of glass, sloping down to the floor at the angle of the roof, and this was the only means of obtaining air and light. It was constructed in two sections, which would slide back and forth, for the purpose of ventilation. This arrangement, I found, would give me an unobstructed view of Mars for several hours each night. Nothing could be better adapted to my requirements; I could not be observed by anyone outside, and I need not fear being overheard while conversing with my Martian friend.