Among the vast multitude who for centuries have yearned for a glimpse into the unknown worlds that surround us, I stood alone gazing upon the image of a Martian. The thought stunned me; I was seized with a wild impulse to rush out into the street and bring in the throng, that they might look upon the form of this wonderful being on our sister planet. But what proof was there to give them that this was so? I would undoubtedly be ridiculed and accused of trickery. The very fact that had brought a cry of amazement to my lips—the remarkable brilliancy and clearness of the image, and the appearance of the Martian himself—would serve to bring discredit upon anything I might say. Personally I had ample proof that the image was that of a Martian, but what instant proof could I give a jeering crowd? I had expected to find in a Martian a strange grotesque being in appearance, if not in mind, much after the weird and fierce character so many authors have portrayed him. Judge, then, my astonishment when I beheld one who, in every particular of form and feature, resembled the people of Earth.
He appeared to be a man of about forty years of age, judging by our earthly standard of time, possessing clear-cut features and dark complexion. His face, which was clean-shaven, was remarkably handsome, and his piercing dark eyes, although they enhanced the smile that greeted my appearance at the instrument, seemed to search into my very soul and to hold me spellbound with mute challenge. Nor could I, upon afterthought, remember having shown the common courtesy of returning his greeting.
My astonishment was so great that every faculty seemed to leave me, and I stood transfixed, staring at the image of the Martian without even the power of thought. Gradually recovering my senses, however, I took note of the man and his surroundings. He stood in a room of about the same dimensions as my laboratory, which seemed to be flooded with bright daylight, though I could not see any windows on three sides of the room to admit the light, nor any shadows to indicate that the light came from a window in the fourth. He held in his hands an instrument unknown to me, and seemed to be perfectly at his ease, showing neither surprise nor curiosity. Evidently this was not the first time that he had seen an inhabitant of the Earth. So unconcerned was he and so natural did he appear, even in the smallest detail of dress, that it was hard to believe I was not looking at an image of some room and its occupant in Paris. His close-fitting clothes seemed to be of a dark green material, and resembled, to some degree, the uniform of an army officer.