After having written a brief note to Almos, saying that I wished to communicate with him the following evening before making another visit, I made a hasty examination of the current of super-radium which now flowed through the virator to Earth from the projecting apparatus. The instant my spirit was released, it would be caught up in this current and conveyed to my body, where it lay in my rooms in Paris. In half an hour the clockwork would shut off the current flowing to Earth, and would then turn on the current which flowed through the upper chamber of the virator, thus transferring Almos’ spirit back to the body, as it lay in the lower chamber.
All was in perfect order, but it was not without a feeling of reluctance and anxiety that I stepped into the virator and, after carefully fastening the door, prepared the cone of chloroform. I realized that there were many dangers attending the return journey that were not present in my journey to Mars. If I had erred in my calculation of the time the super-radium current could be kept on my body in Paris, or if my body had moved in that time, it would undoubtedly mean death to me; and the thought of whether Almos, in such a case, would learn of my fate on the morrow flashed through my mind. Realizing the danger of such apprehensions, not only from the loss of valuable time which they occupied, but also from the fact that they tended to unnerve me at the moment when hesitation meant death, I quickly fastened the chloroform cone over my face and inhaled the fumes.
A moment’s consciousness—a flickering light—
* * * * *
The realization of A hopeless love.
I opened my eyes—it was broad daylight, and for some moments I lay dreamily surveying the familiar objects in my room, unconscious of all that had happened to me during the previous night. Then, noticing that I was fully dressed, a sudden realization of it all came upon me, and, springing to my feet, I excitedly paced up and down my room, pinching my arms and legs to make sure that they were in normal condition. Satisfying myself upon this point, I then looked at the time, and, to my astonishment, found that it was noon.
As Mars passed out of wave contact about one o’clock in the morning, I must have slept eleven hours after the return of my spirit to Earth. I had greatly feared that even if it were my good fortune ever to regain consciousness, it would be only to discover that I had lost the use of my limbs and was powerless to move. That the super-radium current would preserve my body in such a natural condition as even to induce sleep I would not have believed possible. Yet there was every indication that I had awakened from a natural sleep. I felt fresh and full of vigor, and there on my couch lay the cone which, in my sleep, I had unfastened and, in turning over, crushed. If I had remained unconscious the entire time there would not have been this evidence of restlessness, and I considered it of importance as being proof that my sleep had been natural. Beyond this, however, I did not consider the removal of the cone from my face as important, as the chloroform must have completely evaporated soon after I became unconscious.