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The Plunge of the "Knupfen"


Out of the scientific records of the past, we give you the astonishing account of a voyage into earth's very center

I HAVE many times thought of writing an account of the many strange and wonderful incidents that happened to me during this very last year, but have hesitated from fear that they will be denied credibility.

But at last I have gathered courage, and have set down the amazing details.

I am Robert Wiley Gough.

Three years ago I left my native town, Grafton, in the Old Bay State, and went West to better my fortune.

I am a telegrapher, and secured engagement with the Comstock mines, where I remained for many days far down in the earth transmitting to the miners telegraphic instruction which came from the superintendent's office above, on the surface.

I had left, and was in San Francisco to try for a more healthful employment.

I had taken a long walk from the Cliff House along the sands of the ocean.

The pathway for miles was solitary. Not one human being was visible till, some miles inland, a lad told me that I might shorten my journey back to San Francisco by crossing a great sand-dune at the left.

At the summit of this dune I saw a charming picture—a narrow valley surrounded by gray, barren dunes, with a band of the brightest green running through. A row of windmills was irrigating the valley from artesian depths. A group of five great wind-wheels almost overlapping each other provoked my curiosity. The wheels were upheld by a framework of tall, iron stanchions, and below them was a cabin built against the side of the dune.

I drew near to investigate.

As I stepped within the patch of green nearest the cabin, at the door appeared a man who came directly toward me. He was perhaps fifty years old, possessed a pleasant but resolute face, and a stature slightly above the average. His dress was poor and in keeping with his apparent occupation.

He paused squarely in front of me, his appearance plainly inquiring, "What do you want here?"

"Good-day," I ventured. "I was curious to know why you required so many wind wheels for such a small amount of water and garden."

"I might pipe the water to a point below."

That was true. He might be supplying fresh water to a point nearer the ocean. I had no time to press my investigation further, for I was put in the attitude of the answerer rather than the questioner. I had no reason to conceal anything; and he quickly drew from me my occupation, its association with the Comstock, my present lack of employment—in fact, everything.

At the conclusion of his series of inquiries he invited me inside his cabin. The wall against the hill was completely covered by a curtain of soiled muslin. I was speculating as to what it might conceal, when he burst in upon my thoughts by recounting the facts he had learned from me.

"You are a telegrapher; you have been far down in the ground for more than a week at a time; you have nothing at present in view. How would you like to secure fifty thousand dollars in gold a month for yourself?"

I made haste to answer:

"Fifty thousand dollars a month is a great deal of money, but I would dearly like to hold down the job for a year."

He said that he was about to advertise for a man when, lo! Providence brought the man to his door. I was just the one for his purpose. Would I listen to him, and swear not to betray him if I declined his offer?

I promised that I would keep his secret.

HIS name was Christian Aldgeldt. He had been professor of chemistry at one of the Eastern colleges. He had experimented and invented. He led me by gradation to a comprehension of his project.

He denied the atomic theory. He was convinced that no one order of matter could be wholly eliminated from all other orders of matter—in a word, that there was gold in everything.

He had been up in the Snake River country above Lewiston, where there were minute quantities of placer-gold in every foot of land along the river. He had become convinced by experiment that this gold was disseminated by atmospheric electricity.

There was a man there known as "the brass monkey." He had seen him. His face bore the look of a broken bar of brass. Under the microscope he discovered particles of gold-dust in his pores.

Investigation disclosed that the man had been to the Hot Springs in Arkansas for medical treatment, and taken the baths, had become saturated with copper, and it was on this copper that the electrical atmosphere was making deposits of gold.

"Now," said he, "gold exists deep in the earth in volatile form, as volatile as quicksilver. The remote volcanic upheaval which threw these great ranges of mountains into being placed the great mass of the precious metal to the west of the Rockies. The greatest deposits of placer gold were found along the valley of the Sacramento.

"The recent discovery of rich placer-diggings on the shores of Nome prompted me to examine the sands of the coast of California. Near the watery output of this valley I have found great evidences of it. They tell a story of what lies not too far away.

"These artesian wells run from four hundred to eight hundred feet; one of mine to the depth of one thousand feet. From a bucket of water taken from any one of the wells I am able to secure minute deposits of gold. My deepest well shows an increase over the others.

"Everything points to the fact that beneath this spot, perhaps at a depth not greater than four thousand feet, lies a vast subterranean lake or menstruum of fluid gold."

He paused to see how I had been impressed by his account. At each stage he had shown me evidences of the various deposits. I was awed at his recital.

"But," said I, "you cannot bore an artesian well to the depth of four thousand feet."

"Let me show you."

He drew to one side the muslin curtain.

I saw a great dynamo and behind it a huge rock of iron pyrites. He had covered this rock with a coating of shellac, and had made of it probably the largest storage battery in the world. For nearly two years the steady breeze from the ocean had driven the wind-wheels above which had kept the dynamo in constant action until there was stored, as he alleged, enough power to drive all the machinery of San Francisco for ten days.

Next this at the right was a wedge-shaped box of curious construction, about four feet square by seven in height. The sides were corrugated with ridges of steel scales, which worked very much like the wrinkles of an angelworm.

There was a huge door with a porthole, glazed with a lens, like those of the steamers. The wedge-shaped bottom was covered with many thousands of curious little jointed teeth which, of all things in the world, looked most like the claws of a mole.

Interspersed with these were numerous diamond-pointed drills.

This the professor told me was his "Knupfen." The name can mean "buttons" or sometimes "ready money," I understand.

He had procured from a great Eastern mill countless miles of fine wire, made expressly for this purpose. Glass tubes had been inserted in blocks of iron and drawn to the fineness of a hair, each thread of which held a minute flexible glass tube. Great reels of this stood at the right.

Of the velocity with which the Knupfen could bore into the earth the professor was ignorant. He calculated the action of the teeth at eight thousand six hundred and forty vibrations to the second. Notwithstanding all resistance, he believed that four thousand feet could be reached in twenty-four hours.

The machine carried in its descent a wire for communication and four of the hollow wires. When fluid gold was reached, these were to be operated from above by electrical attraction, and minute streams of gold were to pour into our coffers.

The magnitude of the possibilities awed me. He offered me the half, which I thought unjust to him, and it was stipulated that I was to receive one-fourth.

I reserved the right to draw out when I had received a half-million.

The machine was stored with canned provision, chemicals, and implements.

It was ten o'clock in the evening, on the 6th of January, 1901, after receiving the last instructions from Professor Aldgeldt, that I stepped into the Knupfen for my trip of discovery. One last shake of the hand, a mutual wish for success, and I closed the heavy door and made it fast within.

In an instant I became conscious of a buzzing sound as of a swarm of bees. I caught a glimpse of the professor through the observation porthole as his hand went out to touch the connecting lever, and in one flash, too quick for the eye to picture, I dropped from him as though from a balloon.

All was darkness without; an electric burner lighted all within. I had no sense of motion whatever. The buzzing sounds alternately continued and disappeared.

WITHIN ten minutes my eardrums gave me the sensation which one feels after rapidly descending on the railroad from a great altitude to the depths of the plains below.

This continued, it seemed to me, for an age, but my clock told me that not half an hour had passed when I felt a sense of exhilaration as from a dose of oxygen.

A sound like the pounding of a policeman's nightstick on the pavement disturbed me. It was the clicking of the telegraph.

The professor ticked off: "How are you feeling?"

I described my condition, and inquired: "How far have I gone?"

"You are long past the four thousand footmark. I am now waiting the time when you no longer hear the buzzing sound; you will then have reached the subterranean lake."

"But how far am I?"

"When I signaled you the reel marked fifty-seven miles. Now you are"—a moment's pause while he looked at the indicator—"eighty-six miles."

Good Heavens; and the clock indicated but fifty-one and two-fifth minutes after ten! More than a mile and a half a minute! Impossible; the vast magnetic force bad deranged the clock. Certainly the time seemed much longer to me.

"What time is it with you?"

"Eight minutes to eleven."

The clocks were then together. I was lost in astonishment. Could it be possible that I had dropped into the earth with such inconceivable velocity—faster than the flight of the swiftest bird?

After a time the buzzing sound completely ceased. I informed the professor, and he telegraphed me that he had stopped the Knupfen, and that I was now-suspended for observation.

I turned to the search-light and saw through the lens that I was surrounded by a fluid body of murky yellow. With the naked eye I could discern particles of gold floating around as one sees them in an electroplating bath.

"Eureka," I wired, "it is here."

"Thank Heaven," fervently responded the professor.

"Are you ready to pump?" I asked.

A short pause and the answer, "All ready!" came over the wire.

Now was a brief interval of acute mental suspense. Had all his long and ingenious labor and my terrible risk gone for naught? The next fifteen minutes would tell the story.

I adjusted the suction wires, and waited for the verdict. In exactly twelve minutes the professor telegraphed:

"We are completely successful. The gold flows and is depositing freely. It will be impossible to determine the extent until after assay tomorrow."

Mutual congratulations were interchanged. We had passed through a long and anxious day. It was now after midnight, and we agreed to seek rest in sleep.

It was nine before the clicking of the instrument awoke me. After a brief interchange of morning compliments, I began my breakfast, and he went to his, two hundred miles above me. This was to be my first of many meals in the bowels of the earth, and I was glad to find that I enjoyed it. The coffee, toast and egg were as appetizing as to a convalescing invalid.

And now the suction wires were placed and the occult forces of electricity once more resumed their work.

It seems odd to me today how, as a mere matter of course, we took our strange situations—interchanging small talk over the wire, and the professor relating to me the current news of the morning San Francisco paper, while the dynamo was filling our store of gold.

Five o'clock in the afternoon arrived, and the professor informed me that he had closed the baths for assay. Four hours followed, when the professor telegraphed:

"The result is not entirely satisfactory; I must wait till tomorrow morning for further analysis."

All efforts to obtain the approximate amount of the day's work was in vain; and I went to sleep in no enviable frame of mind, awaiting the morrow's results.

It was half past ten the next morning when he informed me:

"We are bitterly disappointed; the total results of yesterday's work are about six dollars and twenty-five cents."

Great Scott, I thought, my share a dollar and thirty cents! At that rate it would be ten centuries before I could secure my half-million. And then the idea came to me—could the professor, who had me at his mercy, be deceiving me—that he might take all for himself?

When the suction wires were set, he needed no further aid from me. Might he not keep them perpetually working, and me in ignorance of the result? I promptly disconnected the wires.

He soon telegraphed:

"You have severed the wires; that is right. Scarcely more than one dollar of fluid gold can be forced through each one in a day. Not compensation for one one-thousandth part of the power used in obtaining it."

It was true that all our hopes were frustrated. All effort was to be abandoned. Now I must he on my way back to the surface once more.

"Well," wired I, "the sooner you give me directions to return, the better I shall be pleased."

A long delay, and the professor answered:

"My dear Mr. Gough, as Heaven is my judge, I have never given sufficient thought to your return."

Great Jove!

I had been such an absolute, driveling idiot, actuated by the blinding thirst for gold, as to rush headlong into an abyss of a depth equaling the width of New England, without bestowing thought upon my method of return.

True, I had only bargained for a depth of four thousand feet. I had been about that distance in the Comstock mines, but here, nearly three hundred miles of direct descent, with no thought of—my mind wavered, and for a time I was insane with sorrow.

Oh, how I cursed the infernal infatuation for gold. Here was I, surrounded by a vast subterranean sea filled with the precious metal. What could it do to relieve me? A fitting grave for greed.

Then followed some bitter words.

"What can be done?"

"Positively nothing."

NOTHING was more certain than that my condition was unalterable—I was doomed, and already buried alive.

I pass any attempt to describe my feelings for the next twelve hours.

On the morning of the third day, Professor Aldgeldt called me to the instrument and made this suggestion.

"I am more to blame than you. Also, I am the greater sufferer; my years of work wasted—how I wish I was in your place. I should at least be spared the accusing thought of having doomed you to a living tomb.

"There is only one source of solace. Grand men, in the interest of science, have given their lives to the knife of the experimenting surgeon, or the inoculation of the poisonous microbe. You are now in a position from which no man has hitherto been able to send back accounts of his discoveries. We are denied our gold.

"You at least may obtain lasting fame; I, some glory for my invention and the power to recount your exploration. Go on then, my friend, even to the extent of all these miles of connecting wires; and should your life last, you will be able to tell the world, through me, of all those wonders which the speculations of scientists have but imperfectly determined."

History chronicles two Hobsons. One was the hero of a naval exploit, the other famed in legend as the person who was given but one choice. My condition offered nothing but Hobson's choice.

I had to die, anyway. The store of provisions would last two months. My condition would not be one of exactly solitary confinement. There was the companionship of the telegraph, and communication with the upper world at any moment. I would enjoy my few remaining days in seeing all I could.

I had consented—and again the Knupfen was boring through stone and lake and rock, at a slight diminution of its previous speed.

I became reconciled to the situation. There was much to interest me in every waking hour. I admitted water from the exterior through an orifice, and found it, in the main, fresh and wholesome.

From fear that my store of compressed air would run short, the professor instructed me in an easy method of making a little oxygen from potassium with a crucible. The gas glowed through the vapor of some boiling water, and absorbed the nitrogen from some stalks of the canned asparagus, which, with the cooling effect of a minute quantity of ether, made a very agreeable atmosphere.

Light is only relative—and in time I became accustomed to the gloom, and could discern objects without the aid of the searchlight. It was indeed very curious, in some of the vast subterranean seas to witness the efforts of huge, uncouth monsters to follow the glare of the searchlight as I sped by them in my downward course.

Day followed day.

The professor had arranged matters so that my descent was undiminished while he slept. With each twenty-four hours, I was reeling off nearly a thousand miles. But we were not able to determine to what degree my course had varied from a direct line, as, though our clocks remained in accord, I had no method of determining by the sun how far I had swerved while passing through the various bodies of water.

And now there was a very perceptible diminution in speed, and the clicking of the telegraph became fainter and fainter with each hour. I had reeled off three thousand two hundred and some odd miles when the Knupfen burst into what appeared, at first, to be a huge sea.

Here all the water seemed transparent, and not materially differing from the water of the surface. I felt a strong current and knew that my course was deflected. After three hours of this the Knupfen dropped out of it and into an open condition of the light of day.

Through the observation lens I could discern what appeared to be mountains, dales, landscapes and groves of varied hues, from light lilac to the rich crimson of a Jacqueminot rose.

As I looked out, I might have been in a balloon over some spot of fairy-land.

I tried to describe the scene on the wire. I had dragged from the reels over four thousand miles. I informed Professor Aldgeldt that the great length of wire had reduced the strength of the current.

"No," he answered, in the scarcely perceptible vibrations of the instrument, "you are nearing the center of the earth. The positive and negative forces are nearing their point of merger. The attraction of gravitation has almost terminated. I can only see the pulsations of your instrument by the aid of a powerful glass. Yes, I hear you; oh, so faintly."

The Knupfen ceased to move.

The positive center of gravity held it still, and without undulation.

I seemed to be suspended in a sort of mid-air, between those fairy grottoes below, and that sky of transparent water above.

Now I could see by the objects through my observation-lens, as I changed my position, that the Knupfen rocked as though I were in a boat on the water. I could only see; I did not feel the rocking.

WHILE it was evident that the floor was at a slant of thirty or forty degrees, I stood straight out from the floor like the peg of a top, no matter in what direction it moved.

A small scale, put on board for the purpose of weighing ore samples, was stowed away on a shelf at the top. I started to step on a seat and reach up for it, when, judge of my surprise as the mere effort lifted me like a toy balloon.

As I raised the scale from the shelf, its avoirdupois was no more than that of a piece of tissue-paper.

Its weighing capacity was ten pounds. I placed it on the floor and stepped on it; I might just as well have put the tissue-paper on the scale. The balancing bar simply quivered and rested. Yet, when I pressed my foot in an effort to raise the bar, it sprang to the top.

It was plain that effort was the only thing that possessed weight.

I summoned courage, and opened the door to look out upon this strange world within a world.

At a distance of what seemed a hundred yards there appeared an object which was an exact reproduction of the Knupfen, but as large as a house. This moved about and danced in the air, then suddenly dissolved into a cloud of many-colored sparks.

In a brief time these sparks reassembled. Imagine my surprise when they offered a reproduction of the Knupfen, but this time with the door open, and a grotesque figure of myself looking out; nodding, winking, leering, and again disappearing in a cloud.

These many-colored sparks continued their performance with far more than the effects of a kaleidoscope, presenting a bit of the fair landscape from below, and again three human figures, one with a long beard, and other objects, but always prancing, dancing, or grimacing.

I learned afterward that these were the mocking-flies, a great swarm of insects, each of a different tint, comprising all the various hues known to color, and who flew into position like the fragments of a mosaic, thus mocking and tantalizing whatever pleased their fancy.

As this wonderful swarm flew away, I could now see approaching what surely seemed like human beings. Among them I discovered the man with the long beard.

Now, this was a strange sight indeed. There were perhaps twenty of them. They separated and gathered like a flock of birds. They were in every conceivable position. Some were coming horizontally, and some with their heads downward and their feet in the air.

Breech-clouts of various hue seemed their only costume.

They came on, examining minutely every part of the Knupfen, pulling me out into the open, continually jabbering, in a tongue from which I could occasionally glean a word of old Saxon.

But I must now tell you what wonders befell me when I found myself outside the Knupfen. At once I was like those others. It made no difference to me from whichever point of the compass my feet radiated.

Far below was a hall of sapphire light which might have been a sun. Across the horizon was another ball of pale, emerald green, which should be a moon. In all directions—above, below, right, left, and everywhere—were little dots of sparkling color which one would think were stars.

The man with the long beard approached. His eyes were kind, his face benevolent, though too young to be patriarchal. He seized me by the hand with a welcoming shake.

The effort sent my legs in the air, as well as his own; and we continued in converse with our heads together and our feet at a tangent, like the spreading prongs of a pair of tongs.

In a brief time I found we were able to make ourselves understood each to the other. He spoke a sort of cross between English and Scandinavian.

My first inquiry necessarily was: "How came you here?"

"I might equally as well ask you how you and others came upon the surface of the earth," he answered, "but that would be a much more difficult and far less reasonable question to, answer than your inquiry. All those of us who were not born here came by the maelstrom, off the coast of Norway."


"The ships that are swallowed within its vortex are drawn swiftly to the center. The plunge is so rapid that the air below deck has no opportunity to escape. The descending water, when it passes the portals of the inner shell, is thrown by the centrifugal force of the earth's revolutions against the outside, much as you see the water mass against the side in a rapidly whirled bucket. Usually nearly all survive the voyage."

"How do you live?"

"We live as do the fish—we breathe our food. All parts of this ozonic sphere are pregnant with life-prolonging power. Nor are the pleasures of the palate denied us. Just here, near the center, the conditions are comparatively neutral.

"But I will take you to dells and grottoes where you shall enjoy in perfection all the sensations of gastronomical delights, from exquisitely cooked game to the pungency of rare cheese, supplemented by the exhilaration of choicest vintages. All comes with an effort of your will."

I paused here to say that shortly after, in the delightful company of a most charming lady I passed completely through one of these ideal banquets taken in, as do the fish, by the way of the gills. And all without the necessity of tipping a waiter or the jarring effect of changing dishes.

I have not the time to recount the many wonders each moment offered. This heart of the world was called Aquavolant—Flying-water.

THERE was a great lodestone in the Grotto of Extremis, to which they journeyed at long intervals, the properties of which renewed their vitality. But one death had been known, and he, poor fellow, took his own life through violent jealousy.

My friend, whose name was Harold Oleson, came in the year 1742. He was accounted the ablest scientist. From him I learned the natural solution of many of the wonders. Additional wrecks, from time to time, had kept them fairly—conversant with the external world.

The oldest settlers came with one of Caesar's galleys, some years B.C. The galley had separated from its consorts during a storm at night in the English Channel, and so sailed on to the maelstrom.

By far the greater number were Scandinavians.

Friend Oleson informed me that the light of day name from the focusing of the earth's volatile electricity; that the apparent sun, moon, and stars were reflections of the real solar system without, transferred through minute globules of vapor, like the mirages seen on the surface.

He took me to his laboratory and showed me how, through vaporous reflection, he was able to determine the constantly creating new chemical combinations within the earth.

He pointed out the encroaching of great veins of quicksilver forcing a way through fissures toward the vast sulfurbeds under Hecla.

He explained that this was creating a prodigious quantity of sulfurate of mercury, one of the very highest explosives, and that the result of the next eruption would be to disrupt and throw out into space, in one huge body, England, Scotland, and Ireland, when they would undoubtedly become a second moon to the earth.

I could not help but think: "What will the Boers think of that?" and "What will be the ultimate settlement of the Irish question?"

Among my early acquaintances I had the honor of a presentation to the one most esteemed, and who by common consent bore the title of Regina.

She is a very beautiful lady, and is the one with whom I dined. She was the only female who survived the arrival of the Roman galley.

She was the daughter of the nephew of the great Cicero, and was early married to Claudius Hesperius, one of Caesar's generals. The galley offered too little deck protection for the great maelstrom plunge, and many of its occupants perished, among them the general, her husband.

On account of her great beauty, she was called from infancy Pulchra, and from the fact of her early accompanying Hesperius to camp she still hears the name of Pulchra and Castra.

Oleson warned me that the novel method of my arrival had very much interested her, and that she was sure to lay siege to my affections.

When I met her and saw the infinite beauty of her face of twenty years, the exquisite symmetry of her form, her soulful eyes, the soft charm of her manners, and listened to the sweet tones of her enrapturing voice, I succumbed completely.

In brief, we have been married now nearly a year, and every day I find a new charm in her personality, which adds to the fervor of my affections.

I kept up an occasional correspondence with Professor Aldgeldt, who told me that the descriptions of my surroundings were valueless, as they were discredited. And yet, they have wireless telegraphy, the entering X-ray, and many things more wonderful than my experience.

Though without the new inventions, it was extremely well supplied with the conventional implements of science. He has some crystals peculiar to Aquavolant, which possess the power to focus and magnify objects reflected through the earth's vapor atoms. It took a long time to isolate an object on the surface which one could recognize.

Though the sun and moon seemed to bear about their usual positions, he felt sure that they were reflected at a violent tangent, and offered no guide as to the real position of any external place.

I suggested that we get the exact time from Professor Aldgeldt, at San Francisco, and so establish the reflected sun's position.

He instantly saw the advantage of this, and we telegraphed the professor, who directed our movements. He was to send over the wire a single dot, the letter s, which we were instantly to repeat to him. We did this, and he informed us that the transference to and from took nine and one-fifth seconds. The electric spark had taken four and one-tenth seconds in reaching us. By this we were able to set our time and calculate by the meridian of San Francisco.

The focus of the crystals was switched toward the east to Massachusetts Bay and back to Worcester, where, feeling our way around that city, I was enabled to recognize Grafton, and, in time, to see my parents and one of my sisters, who were eating their noonday meal.

My wife came with me to see her new relatives by marriage. She then expressed a great desire to return once more to the surface and visit her own home. It was in vain to explain that two thousand years had completely changed Rome, which was no longer queen of the world.

To my great surprise, Oleson declared that he believed it possible, through the agency of the Knupfen. The great central lodestone would supply the power, which, with the machine reversed and the rodent claws on top, would, he believed, enable the Knupfen to eat its way back to the surface.

By opening an easy channel, a portion of the inner sea might be so directed that its centrifugal force would aid in the propulsion, and ultimately toss it out, like a cork on the top of a geyser.

We promised to come back to Aquavolant by way of the maelstrom.

WE FIRST induced Professor Aldgeldt to free all the wires from above, except one. We secured some old windlasses from the wrecks, and reeled the wires on them. The channel was dug, ready for the gate to be opened the moment the Knupfen had secured a foothold the measure of its length.

There still remained in store enough of food.

Mindful of certain necessities on the surface, I filled an empty asparagus-can with rare gems, superb diamonds, rubies, and sapphires.

I had been eight months in Aquavolant, and was about to leave it with great reluctance. It was the twelfth of last September when we made our start. All the inhabitants, old and young, from babes in arms to those of near two thousand years, collected to see us off.

Tho driving wires were attached to the lodestone, a separate wire for communication was run from Oleson's laboratory, when I placed our fate in his hands and we bade all good-by.

The great door was closed, and the familiar buzzing sound recommenced The superior power of the lodestone quickened our voyage, and it was four days and four hours when the Knupfen spurted out and fell flat on its side on a great plain.

The water continued flowing for ten hours, and then subsided. I opened the door-we were in the light of day. All around us was a thin covering of snow and ice.

By directions of Oleson, I plumbed a stick three feet in height to a horizontal spirit level.

At the sun's noon I took the measure of the stick's shadow falling on the level, and measured the distance from the stick's base to the point of the shadow. I telegraphed the distance to Oleson. He got the time from Professor Aldgeldt, at San Francisco, and, after calculating, informed me that we were 178 degrees west from San Francisco, and just south of the sixtieth parallel. That we were in Siberia. He would locate us by the crystals, and tell us of the nearest town.

The Knupfen had carried me completely through the earth.

On the morning I learned that we were near thirty miles north of Kadovsky, on the Great Siberian Railway, I made efforts to get a sledge, and, abandoning for the time the Knupfen, we were soon on the cars, and speeding toward Russia.

At St. Petersburg I made sale of three fine diamonds, and procured some fashionable costumes for my dear Pulchra.

She would listen to nothing but that she should revisit Rome. Thither we went, where her disappointment at the change wrought by centuries was complete.

She pointed out to me her former box in the ruins of the Colosseum, where she had witnessed the frays of the gladiators and the sacrifices of the slaves. She was horrified at the wretched condition of her beloved Tiber.

I think nothing so completely contributed to her desire to get away from the place as the fact that she could not find a single soothsayer in the city.

We started on our way to take steamer from Liverpool, pursuing almost the identical pathway that she had taken with Caesar's army, those many centuries before. It really was strange and wonderful to witness her point out some place where they gave the Gauls a peppering.

From the public she attracted no observation, except for her extreme beauty, most people taking her for my daughter.

But when she dropped into reminiscence, they gazed at each other with puzzled looks.

We have been in America now four months, and have visited my parents at their home.

At Boston, we cannot help but feel a sense of superiority; for we know who really are the aristocracy of the Hub. Professor Aldgeldt has joined us, and we pass many hours explaining our wonders and talking of dear Oleson, with his hundred and sixty years, who, we feel, is far down there helow, over his crystals, and fondly watching our every move.

We have purchased one of the submarine boats, and are preparing to return to the Aquavolant next May.

We take with us the newest appliances for wireless telegraphy, and feel that we shall perfect communication from the center to the circumference sooner than others will admieve whisperings over the ocean.

And now I may say, if there are any who would like to join us in the trip, they may advise me at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, in New York.