ALL AROUND THE MOON - 18 books and stories free download online pdf in English




It was not until the Projectile had passed a little beyond Tycho's immense concavity that Barbican and his friends had a good opportunity for observing the brilliant streaks sent so wonderfully flying in all directions from this celebrated mountain as a common centre. They examined them for some time with the closest attention.

What could be the nature of this radiating aureola? By what geological phenomena could this blazing coma have been possibly produced? Such questions were the most natural things in the world for Barbican and his companions to propound to themselves, as indeed they have been to every astronomer from the beginning of time, and probably will be to the end.

What did they see? What you can see, what anybody can see on a clear night when the Moon is full—only our friends had all the advantages of a closer view. From Tycho, as a focus, radiated in all directions, as from the head of a peeled orange, more than a hundred luminous streaks or channels, edges raised, middle depressed—or perhaps vice versa, owing to an optical illusion—some at least twelve miles wide, some fully thirty. In certain directions they ran for a distance of at least six hundred miles, and seemed—especially towards the west, northwest, and north—to cover half the southern hemisphere. One of these flashes extended as far as Neander on the 40th meridian; another, curving around so as to furrow the Mare Nectaris, came to an end on the chain of the Pyrenees, after a course of perhaps a little more than seven hundred miles. On the east, some of them barred with luminous network the Mare Nubium and even the Mare Humorum.

The most puzzling feature of these glittering streaks was that they ran their course directly onward, apparently neither obstructed by valley, crater, or mountain ridge however high. They all started, as said before, from one common focus, Tycho's crater. From this they certainly all seemed to emanate. Could they be rivers of lava once vomited from that centre by resistless volcanic agency and afterwards crystallized into glassy rock? This idea of Herschel's, Barbican had no hesitation in qualifying as exceedingly absurd. Rivers running in perfectly straight lines, across plains, and up as well as down mountains!

"Other astronomers," he continued, "have looked on these streaks as a peculiar kind of moraines, that is, long lines of erratic blocks belched forth with mighty power at the period of Tycho's own upheaval."

"How do you like that theory, Barbican," asked the Captain.

"It's not a particle better than Herschel's," was the reply; "no volcanic action could project rocks to a distance of six or seven hundred miles, not to talk of laying them down so regularly that we can't detect a break in them."

"Happy thought!" cried Ardan suddenly; "it seems to me that I can tell the cause of these radiating streaks!"

"Let us hear it," said Barbican.

"Certainly," was Ardan's reply; "these streaks are all only the parts of what we call a 'star,' as made by a stone striking ice; or by a ball, a pane of glass."

"Not bad," smiled Barbican approvingly; "only where is the hand that flung the stone or threw the ball?"

"The hand is hardly necessary," replied Ardan, by no means disconcerted; "but as for the ball, what do you say to a comet?"

Here M'Nicholl laughed so loud that Ardan was seriously irritated. However, before he could say anything cutting enough to make the Captain mind his manners, Barbican had quickly resumed:

"Dear friend, let the comets alone, I beg of you; the old astronomers fled to them on all occasions and made them explain every difficulty—"

—"The comets were all used up long ago—" interrupted M'Nicholl.

—"Yes," went on Barbican, as serenely as a judge, "comets, they said, had fallen on the surface in meteoric showers and crushed in the crater cavities; comets had dried up the water; comets had whisked off the atmosphere; comets had done everything. All pure assumption! In your case, however, friend Michael, no comet whatever is necessary. The shock that gave rise to your great 'star' may have come from the interior rather than the exterior. A violent contraction of the lunar crust in the process of cooling may have given birth to your gigantic 'star' formation."

"I accept the amendment," said Ardan, now in the best of humor and looking triumphantly at M'Nicholl.

"An English scientist," continued Barbican, "Nasmyth by name, is decidedly of your opinion, especially ever since a little experiment of his own has confirmed him in it. He filled a glass globe with water, hermetically sealed it, and then plunged it into a hot bath. The enclosed water, expanding at a greater rate than the glass, burst the latter, but, in doing so, it made a vast number of cracks all diverging in every direction from the focus of disruption. Something like this he conceives to have taken place around Tycho. As the crust cooled, it cracked. The lava from the interior, oozing out, spread itself on both sides of the cracks. This certainly explains pretty satisfactorily why those flat glistening streaks are of much greater width than the fissures through which the lava had at first made its way to the surface."

"Well done for an Englishman!" cried Ardan in great spirits.

"He's no Englishman," said M'Nicholl, glad to have an opportunity of coming off with some credit. "He is the famous Scotch engineer who invented the steam hammer, the steam ram, and discovered the 'willow leaves' in the Sun's disc."

"Better and better," said Ardan—"but, powers of Vulcan! What makes it so hot? I'm actually roasting!"

This observation was hardly necessary to make his companions conscious that by this time they felt extremely uncomfortable. The heat had become quite oppressive. Between the natural caloric of the Sun and the reflected caloric of the Moon, the Projectile was fast turning into a regular bake oven. This transition from intense cold to intense heat was already about quite as much as they could bear.

"What shall we do, Barbican?" asked Ardan, seeing that for some time no one else appeared inclined to say a word.

"Nothing, at least yet awhile, friend Ardan," replied Barbican, "I have been watching the thermometer carefully for the last few minutes, and, though we are at present at 38° centigrade, or 100° Fahrenheit, I have noticed that the mercury is slowly falling. You can also easily remark for yourself that the floor of the Projectile is turning away more and more from the lunar surface. From this I conclude quite confidently, and I see that the Captain agrees with me, that all danger of death from intense heat, though decidedly alarming ten minutes ago, is over for the present and, for some time at least, it may be dismissed from further consideration."

"I'm not very sorry for it," said Ardan cheerfully; "neither to be baked like a pie in an oven nor roasted like a fat goose before a fire is the kind of death I should like to die of."

"Yet from such a death you would suffer no more than your friends the Selenites are exposed to every day of their lives," said the Captain, evidently determined on getting up an argument.

"I understand the full bearing of your allusion, my dear Captain," replied Ardan quickly, but not at all in a tone showing that he was disposed to second M'Nicholl's expectations.

He was, in fact, fast losing all his old habits of positivism. Latterly he had seen much, but he had reflected more. The deeper he had reflected, the more inclined he had become to accept the conclusion that the less he knew. Hence he had decided that if M'Nicholl wanted an argument it should not be with him. All speculative disputes he should henceforth avoid; he would listen with pleasure to all that could be urged on each side; he might even skirmish a little here and there as the spirit moved him; but a regular pitched battle on a subject purely speculative he was fully determined never again to enter into.

"Yes, dear Captain," he continued, "that pointed arrow of yours has by no means missed its mark, but I can't deny that my faith is beginning to be what you call a little 'shaky' in the existence of my friends the Selenites. However, I should like to have your square opinion on the matter. Barbican's also. We have witnessed many strange lunar phenomena lately, closer and clearer than mortal eye ever rested on them before. Has what we have seen confirmed any theory of yours or confounded any hypothesis? Have you seen enough to induce you to adopt decided conclusions? I will put the question formally. Do you, or do you not, think that the Moon resembles the Earth in being the abode of animals and intelligent beings? Come, answer, messieurs. Yes, or no?"

"I think we can answer your question categorically," replied Barbican, "if you modify its form a little."

"Put the question any way you please," said Ardan; "only you answer it! I'm not particular about the form."

"Good," said Barbican; "the question, being a double one, demands a double answer. First: Is the Moon inhabitable? Second: Has the Moon ever been inhabited?"

"That's the way to go about it," said the Captain. "Now then, Ardan, what do you say to the first question? Yes, or no?"

"I really can't say anything," replied Ardan. "In the presence of such distinguished scientists, I'm only a listener, a 'mere looker on in Vienna' as the Divine Williams has it. However, for the sake of argument, suppose I reply in the affirmative, and say that the Moon is inhabitable."

"If you do, I shall most unhesitatingly contradict you," said Barbican, feeling just then in splendid humor for carrying on an argument, not, of course, for the sake of contradicting or conquering or crushing or showing off or for any other vulgar weakness of lower minds, but for the noble and indeed the only motive that should impel a philosopher—that of enlightening and convincing, "In taking the negative side, however, or saying that the Moon is not inhabitable, I shall not be satisfied with merely negative arguments. Many words, however, are not required. Look at her present condition: her atmosphere dwindled away to the lowest ebb; her 'seas' dried up or very nearly so; her waters reduced to next to nothing; her vegetation, if existing at all, existing only on the scantiest scale; her transitions from intense heat to intense cold, as we ourselves can testify, sudden in the extreme; her nights and her days each nearly 360 hours long. With all this positively against her and nothing at all that we know of positively for her, I have very little hesitation in saying that the Moon appears to me to be absolutely uninhabitable. She seems to me not only unpropitious to the development of the animal kingdom but actually incapable of sustaining life at all—that is, in the sense that we usually attach to such a term."

"That saving clause is well introduced, friend Barbican," said M'Nicholl, who, seeing no chance of demolishing Ardan, had not yet made up his mind as to having another little bout with the President. "For surely you would not venture to assert that the Moon is uninhabitable by a race of beings having an organization different from ours?"

"That question too, Captain," replied Barbican, "though a much more difficult one, I shall try to answer. First, however, let us see, Captain, if we agree on some fundamental points. How do we detect the existence of life? Is it not by movement? Is not motion its result, no matter what may be its organization?"

"Well," said the Captain in a drawling way, "I guess we may grant that."

"Then, dear friends," resumed Barbican, "I must remind you that, though we have had the privilege of observing the lunar continents at a distance of not more than one-third of a mile, we have never yet caught sight of the first thing moving on her surface. The presence of humanity, even of the lowest type, would have revealed itself in some form or other, by boundaries, by buildings, even by ruins. Now what have we seen? Everywhere and always, the geological works of nature; nowhere and never, the orderly labors of man. Therefore, if any representatives of animal life exist in the Moon, they must have taken refuge in those bottomless abysses where our eyes were unable to track them. And even this I can't admit. They could not always remain in these cavities. If there is any atmosphere at all in the Moon, it must be found in her immense low-lying plains. Over those plains her inhabitants must have often passed, and on those plains they must in some way or other have left some mark, some trace, some vestige of their existence, were it even only a road. But you both know well that nowhere are any such traces visible: therefore, they don't exist; therefore, no lunar inhabitants exist—except, of course, such a race of beings, if we can imagine any such, as could exist without revealing their existence by movement."

"That is to say," broke in Ardan, to give what he conceived a sharper point to Barbican's cogent arguments, "such a race of beings as could exist without existing!"

"Precisely," said Barbican: "Life without movement, and no life at all, are equivalent expressions."

"Captain," said Ardan, with all the gravity he could assume, "have you anything more to say before the Moderator of our little Debating Society gives his opinion on the arguments regarding the question before the house?"

"No more at present," said the Captain, biding his time.

"Then," resumed Ardan, rising with much dignity, "the Committee on Lunar Explorations, appointed by the Honorable Baltimore Gun Club, solemnly assembled in the Projectile belonging to the aforesaid learned and respectable Society, having carefully weighed all the arguments advanced on each side of the question, and having also carefully considered all the new facts bearing on the case that have lately come under the personal notice of said Committee, unanimously decides negatively on the question now before the chair for investigation—namely, 'Is the Moon inhabitable?' Barbican, as chairman of the Committee, I empower you to duly record our solemn decision—No, the Moon is not inhabitable."

Barbican, opening his note-book, made the proper entry among the minutes of the meeting of December 6th.

"Now then, gentlemen," continued Ardan, "if you are ready for the second question, the necessary complement of the first, we may as well approach it at once. I propound it for discussion in the following form: Has the Moon ever been inhabited? Captain, the Committee would be delighted to hear your remarks on the subject."

"Gentlemen," began the Captain in reply, "I had formed my opinion regarding the ancient inhabitability of our Satellite long before I ever dreamed of testing my theory by anything like our present journey. I will now add that all our observations, so far made, have only served to confirm me in my opinion. I now venture to assert, not only with every kind of probability in my favor but also on what I consider most excellent arguments, that the Moon was once inhabited by a race of beings possessing an organization similar to our own, that she once produced animals anatomically resembling our terrestrial animals, and that all these living organizations, human and animal, have had their day, that that day vanished ages and ages ago, and that, consequently, Life, extinguished forever, can never again reveal its existence there under any form."

"Is the Chair," asked Ardan, "to infer from the honorable gentleman's observations that he considers the Moon to be a world much older than the Earth?"

"Not exactly that," replied the Captain without hesitation; "I rather mean to say that the Moon is a world that grew old more rapidly than the Earth; that it came to maturity earlier; that it ripened quicker, and was stricken with old age sooner. Owing to the difference of the volumes of the two worlds, the organizing forces of matter must have been comparatively much more violent in the interior of the Moon than in the interior of the Earth. The present condition of its surface, as we see it lying there beneath us at this moment, places this assertion beyond all possibility of doubt. Wrinkled, pitted, knotted, furrowed, scarred, nothing that we can show on Earth resembles it. Moon and Earth were called into existence by the Creator probably at the same period of time. In the first stages of their existence, they do not seem to have been anything better than masses of gas. Acted upon by various forces and various influences, all of course directed by an omnipotent intelligence, these gases by degrees became liquid, and the liquids grew condensed into solids until solidity could retain its shape. But the two heavenly bodies, though starting at the same time, developed at a very different ratio. Most undoubtedly, our globe was still gaseous or at most only liquid, at the period when the Moon, already hardened by cooling, began to become inhabitable."

"Most undoubtedly is good!" observed Ardan admiringly.

"At this period," continued the learned Captain, "an atmosphere surrounded her. The waters, shut in by this gaseous envelope, could no longer evaporate. Under the combined influences of air, water, light, and solar heat as well as internal heat, vegetation began to overspread the continents by this time ready to receive it, and most undoubtedly—I mean—a—incontestably—it was at this epoch that life manifested itself on the lunar surface. I say incontestably advisedly, for Nature never exhausts herself in producing useless things, and therefore a world, so wonderfully inhabitable, must of necessity have had inhabitants."

"I like of necessity too," said Ardan, who could never keep still; "I always did, when I felt my arguments to be what you call a little shaky."

"But, my dear Captain," here observed Barbican, "have you taken into consideration some of the peculiarities of our Satellite which are decidedly opposed to the development of vegetable and animal existence? Those nights and days, for instance, 354 hours long?"

"I have considered them all," answered the brave Captain. "Days and nights of such an enormous length would at the present time, I grant, give rise to variations in temperature altogether intolerable to any ordinary organization. But things were quite different in the era alluded to. At that time, the atmosphere enveloped the Moon in a gaseous mantle, and the vapors took the shape of clouds. By the screen thus formed by the hand of nature, the heat of the solar rays was tempered and the nocturnal radiation retarded. Light too, as well as heat, could be modified, tempered, and genialized if I may use the expression, by the air. This produced a healthy counterpoise of forces, which, now that the atmosphere has completely disappeared, of course exists no longer. Besides—friend Ardan, you will excuse me for telling you something new, something that will surprise you—"

—"Surprise me, my dear boy, fire away surprising me!" cried Ardan. "I like dearly to be surprised. All I regret is that you scientists have surprised me so much already that I shall never have a good, hearty, genuine surprise again!"

—"I am most firmly convinced," continued the Captain, hardly waiting for Ardan to finish, "that, at the period of the Moon's occupancy by living creatures, her days and nights were by no means 354 hours long."

"Well! if anything could surprise me," said Ardan quickly, "such an assertion as that most certainly would. On what does the honorable gentleman base his most firm conviction?"

"We know," replied the Captain, "that the reason of the Moon's present long day and night is the exact equality of the periods of her rotation on her axis and of her revolution around the Earth. When she has turned once around the Earth, she has turned once around herself. Consequently, her back is turned to the Sun during one-half of the month; and her face during the other half. Now, I don't believe that this state of things existed at the period referred to."

"The gentleman does not believe!" exclaimed Ardan. "The Chair must be excused for reminding the honorable gentleman that it can not accept his incredulity as a sound and valid argument. These two movements have certainly equal periods now; why not always?"

"For the simple reason that this equality of periods is due altogether to the influence of terrestrial attraction," replied the ready Captain. "This attraction at present, I grant, is so great that it actually disables the Moon from revolving on herself; consequently she must always keep the same face turned towards the Earth. But who can assert that this attraction was powerful enough to exert the same influence at the epoch when the Earth herself was only a fluid substance? In fact, who can even assert that the Moon has always been the Earth's satellite?"

"Ah, who indeed?" exclaimed Ardan. "And who can assert that the Moon did not exist long before the Earth was called into being at all? In fact, who can assert that the Earth itself is not a great piece broken off the Moon? Nothing like asking absurd questions! I've often found them passing for the best kind of arguments!"

"Friend Ardan," interposed Barbican, who noticed that the Captain was a little too disconcerted to give a ready reply; "Friend Ardan, I must say you are not quite wrong in showing how certain methods of reasoning, legitimate enough in themselves, may be easily abused by being carried too far. I think, however, that the Captain might maintain his position without having recourse to speculations altogether too gigantic for ordinary intellect. By simply admitting the insufficiency of the primordeal attraction to preserve a perfect balance between the movements of the lunar rotation and revolution, we can easily see how the nights and days could once succeed each other on the Moon exactly as they do at present on the Earth."

"Nothing can be clearer!" resumed the brave Captain, once more rushing to the charge. "Besides, even without this alternation of days and nights, life on the lunar surface was quite possible."

"Of course it was possible," said Ardan; "everything is possible except what contradicts itself. It is possible too that every possibility is a fact; therefore, it is a fact. However," he added, not wishing to press the Captain's weak points too closely, "let all these logical niceties pass for the present. Now that you have established the existence of your humanity in the Moon, the Chair would respectfully ask how it has all so completely disappeared?"

"It disappeared completely thousands, perhaps millions, of years ago," replied the unabashed Captain. "It perished from the physical impossibility of living any longer in a world where the atmosphere had become by degrees too rare to be able to perform its functions as the great resuscitating medium of dependent existences. What took place on the Moon is only what is to take place some day or other on the Earth, when it is sufficiently cooled off."

"Cooled off?"

"Yes," replied the Captain as confidently and with as little hesitation as if he was explaining some of the details of his great machine-shop in Philadelphia; "You see, according as the internal fire near the surface was extinguished or was withdrawn towards the centre, the lunar shell naturally cooled off. The logical consequences, of course, then gradually took place: extinction of organized beings; and then extinction of vegetation. The atmosphere, in the meantime, became thinner and thinner—partly drawn off with the water evaporated by the terrestrial attraction, and partly sinking with the solid water into the crust-cracks caused by cooling. With the disappearance of air capable of respiration, and of water capable of motion, the Moon, of course, became uninhabitable. From that day it became the abode of death, as completely as it is at the present moment."

"That is the fate in store for our Earth?"

"In all probability."

"And when is it to befall us?"

"Just as soon as the crust becomes cold enough to be uninhabitable."

"Perhaps your philosophership has taken the trouble to calculate how many years it will take our unfortunate Terra Mater to cool off?"

"Well; I have."

"And you can rely on your figures?"


"Why not tell it at once then to a fellow that's dying of impatience to know all about it? Captain, the Chair considers you one of the most tantalizing creatures in existence!"

"If you only listen, you will hear," replied M'Nicholl quietly. "By careful observations, extended through a series of many years, men have been able to discover the average loss of temperature endured by the Earth in a century. Taking this as the ground work of their calculations, they have ascertained that our Earth shall become an uninhabitable planet in about—"

"Don't cut her life too short! Be merciful!" cried Ardan in a pleading tone half in earnest. "Come, a good long day, your Honor! A good long day!"

"The planet that we call the Earth," continued the Captain, as grave as a judge, "will become uninhabitable to human beings, after a lapse of 400 thousand years from the present time."

"Hurrah!" cried Ardan, much relieved. "Vive la Science! Henceforward, what miscreant will persist in saying that the Savants are good for nothing? Proudly pointing to this calculation, can't they exclaim to all defamers: 'Silence, croakers! Our services are invaluable! Haven't we insured the Earth for 400 thousand years?' Again I say vive la Science!"

"Ardan," began the Captain with some asperity, "the foundations on which Science has raised—"

"I'm half converted already," interrupted Ardan in a cheery tone; "I do really believe that Science is not altogether unmitigated homebogue! Vive—"

—"But what has all this to do with the question under discussion?" interrupted Barbican, desirous to keep his friends from losing their tempers in idle disputation.

"True!" said Ardan. "The Chair, thankful for being called to order, would respectfully remind the house that the question before it is: Has the Moon been inhabited? Affirmative has been heard. Negative is called on to reply. Mr. Barbican has the parole."

But Mr. Barbican was unwilling just then to enter too deeply into such an exceedingly difficult subject. "The probabilities," he contented himself with saying, "would appear to be in favor of the Captain's speculations. But we must never forget that they are speculations—nothing more. Not the slightest evidence has yet been produced that the Moon is anything else than 'a dead and useless waste of extinct volcanoes.' No signs of cities, no signs of buildings, not even of ruins, none of anything that could be reasonably ascribed to the labors of intelligent creatures. No sign of change of any kind has been established. As for the agreement between the Moon's rotation and her revolution, which compels her to keep the same face constantly turned towards the Earth, we don't know that it has not existed from the beginning. As for what is called the effect of volcanic agency upon her surface, we don't know that her peculiar blistered appearance may not have been brought about altogether by the bubbling and spitting that blisters molten iron when cooling and contracting. Some close observers have even ventured to account for her craters by saying they were due to pelting showers of meteoric rain. Then again as to her atmosphere—why should she have lost her atmosphere? Why should it sink into craters? Atmosphere is gas, great in volume, small in matter; where would there be room for it? Solidified by the intense cold? Possibly in the night time. But would not the heat of the long day be great enough to thaw it back again? The same trouble attends the alleged disappearance of the water. Swallowed up in the cavernous cracks, it is said. But why are there cracks? Cooling is not always attended by cracking. Water cools without cracking; cannon balls cool without cracking. Too much stress has been laid on the great difference between the nucleus and the crust: it is really impossible to say where one ends and the other begins. In fact, no theory explains satisfactorily anything regarding the present state of the Moon's surface. In fact, from the day that Galileo compared her clustering craters to 'eyes on a peacock's tail' to the present time, we must acknowledge that we know nothing more than we can actually see, not one particle more of the Moon's history than our telescopes reveal to our corporal eyes!"

"In the lucid opinion of the honorable and learned gentleman who spoke last," said Ardan, "the Chair is compelled to concur. Therefore, as to the second question before the house for deliberation, Has the Moon been ever inhabited? the Chair gets out of its difficulty, as a Scotch jury does when it has not evidence enough either way, by returning a solemn verdict of Not Proven!"

"And with this conclusion," said Barbican, hastily rising, "of a subject on which, to tell the truth, we are unable as yet to throw any light worth speaking of, let us be satisfied for the present. Another question of greater moment to us just now is: where are we? It seems to me that we are increasing our distance from the Moon very decidedly and very rapidly."

It was easy to see that he was quite right in this observation. The Projectile, still following a northerly course and therefore approaching the lunar equator, was certainly getting farther and farther from the Moon. Even at 30° S., only ten degrees farther north than the latitude of Tycho, the travellers had considerable difficulty, comparatively, in observing the details of Pitatus, a walled mountain on the south shores of the Mare Nubium. In the "sea" itself, over which they now floated, they could see very little, but far to the left, on the 20th parallel, they could discern the vast crater of Bullialdus, 9,000 feet deep. On the right, they had just caught a glimpse of Purbach, a depressed valley almost square in shape with a round crater in the centre, when Ardan suddenly cried out:

"A Railroad!"

And, sure enough, right under them, a little northeast of Purbach, the travellers easily distinguished a long line straight and black, really not unlike a railroad cutting through a low hilly country.

This, Barbican explained, was of course no railway, but a steep cliff, at least 1,000 feet high, casting a very deep shadow, and probably the result of the caving in of the surface on the eastern edge.

Then they saw the immense crater of Arzachel and in its midst a cone mountain shining with dazzling splendor. A little north of this, they could detect the outlines of another crater, Alphonse, at least 70 miles in diameter. Close to it they could easily distinguish the immense crater or, as some observers call it, Ramparted Plain, Ptolemy, so well known to lunar astronomers, occupying, as it does, such a favorable position near the centre of the Moon, and having a diameter fully, in one direction at least, 120 miles long.

The travellers were now in about the same latitude as that at which they had at first approached the Moon, and it was here that they began most unquestionably to leave her. They looked and looked, readjusting their glasses, but the details were becoming more and more difficult to catch. The reliefs grew more and more blurred and the outlines dimmer and dimmer. Even the great mountain profiles began to fade away, the dazzling colors to grow duller, the jet black shadows greyer, and the general effect mistier.

At last, the distance had become so great that, of this lunar world so wonderful, so fantastic, so weird, so mysterious, our travellers by degrees lost even the consciousness, and their sensations, lately so vivid, grew fainter and fainter, until finally they resembled those of a man who is suddenly awakened from a peculiarly strange and impressive dream.