We had already attained a considerable height, and, as I eagerly gazed down, I beheld far beneath us the glistening surface of a lake. With a gasp of horror, I realized what a narrow escape had been ours. Into this lake we had plunged with a velocity sufficient to have dashed us to pieces had we struck the ground; the damage which the car had sustained upon striking the water was evidence of this. Our descent being stopped, the repelling metal, which was fully exposed, had then sent us bounding into the air again, and in all probability had thus saved us from being drowned beneath the waters of the lake.
Death had indeed been close to us many times during our strange adventure, and now that all the dangers were past, I breathed a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness for our safe deliverance.
Freeing Zarlah from the wet blankets I had wrapped around her during the intense heat, I gazed anxiously down upon the beautiful, unconscious face.
“My love! my love!” I murmured, passionately. “How much you have risked—how much you have suffered for my sake! Oh, cruel the fate that thus delays our happiness!”
The sun was setting, and I now realized the importance of descending nearer to the ground, that I might ascertain our whereabouts, as from our present altitude, even with Almos’ knowledge of Mars, I was unable to recognize any familiar landmark, and I knew that darkness would soon be upon us.
Bending once again over the form of my loved one, I tenderly kissed the silent lips, but as I did so, her arms closed about my neck, and dreamily opening her eyes, she smiled up at me as a child awakening from a peaceful sleep.
“We are safe now, darling, all the danger is past!” I murmured, and falling on my knees beside her, I took her up into my arms, with the prayer that I might ever shield her in the days to come.
The shadows lengthened; quickly the gloom gathered, and darkness closed in upon us, but still we remained suspended in the cool night air under the dome of the starry heavens, unmindful of all in the joy of our great love; for with the fulfillment of our hearts’ long cherished desire, came the realization that our journey was ended.
* * * * *
Paris, February 17, 19—.
Six months have elapsed since that memorable evening when Harold and Zarlah—radiant with their new-found happiness—were portrayed upon the instrument in Paris at which I anxiously waited, after having exchanged my existence on Mars for one on Earth. The account of his strange adventures, which Harold has since given me, I have endeavored to record in the foregoing pages, as nearly as possible in his own words, trusting that this narration of the events connected with the opening of communication between Earth and Mars will prepare the way for the greater developments soon to be announced by scientists.