The day had closed, and I spent the remaining time speculating upon the results of my labors. But even the wildest flights of my imagination did not picture, in the smallest degree, the wonderful transformation which my new instrument would make in what had appeared before as a shadow on the film. Little did I imagine to what an extent the unknown was to be revealed to me.
As I stood by the side of the frame all in readiness, Mars appeared, but it still had a little farther to climb before it would be visible from the level of the wires. Nevertheless, I turned on the current from the batteries. All was darkness; never before had darkness seemed to me so profound, so absolutely appalling. Minutes passed like hours, but still that ominous darkness reigned. I felt the keen disappointment of failure; I grew incredulous as the time passed, and found myself admitting and rehearsing the absurdity of it all. I even blamed myself for having been so easily deflected from my former experiments, by what now seemed to be merely an idle fancy.
Suddenly I bent over the frame and gazed eagerly at the surface of wires, for there, on the top edge, appeared a touch of the phosphorus-colored glow. My heart thumped with wild excitement. I stooped down until my eyes were on the level of the wires, and looking up toward the window I could just see the rim of Mars appearing above the casement. A shout of joy burst from my lips at the sight of it, for it was now beyond all doubt that the phenomenon was attributable to Mars. Brighter and brighter became the light as it covered the surface of wires, until all its resemblance to a phosphorus glow had gone, and it shone with such brilliancy that my eyes, accustomed as they were to the darkness of the room, quailed before it. Turning away so that my eyes might gradually become accustomed to the glare, I noticed that in spite of the brilliant white light on the surface of the wires, the room was in perfect darkness—the light had no power of illumination! Impenetrable mystery enshrouded the agent which Mars was employing to communicate with Earth!
A curious humming sound issuing from the frame, much louder than I had noticed the night before, caused me to turn involuntarily, and as I did so I uttered a cry of wonder at the marvelous vision that met my eyes. There lay before me, as bright as daylight, a picture that a thousand times surpassed my highest, wildest hope. The great secret of another planet was revealed, and I stood motionless, beholding an inhabitant of a star millions of miles away.