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"Twenty-two-at least I soon shall be."
Thorpe smiled. "Well, I didn't mind talking in that style when I was one-and-twenty; but, now that more than half my life is gone, I'm willing enough to work, but not to fight my way through the crowd to get my foot on the lowest round of the ladder again. I like to look forward to the end; I like to feel that I needn't pinch and save. I like good wine and good dinners; I didn't care what I had at one-andtwenty."
"I didn't want you to be poor for very long," said Lizzie; "just a little while. You might have had plenty of good dinners "-this very scornfully-" afterwards."
"You're very kind, but as I can't dine more than once a day I don't see how I could make up for lost time. No, no, Lizzie! you must take me as I am. I daresay it might be very nice to live in a cottage with you to cook for me, but I shan't be easy till things are made safe, and I know that there isn't a chance of this bargain of ours turning out as badly for you as the one we made two years and a half ago.”
But Lizzie Grey did not seem to think that bargain had turned out badly for her. Something was lost with that first dream, no doubt, something of spring-time had vanished, but there was no shadow of regret in her happy eyes that day.
It was easy to tell the great news to Mrs. Grey, but Thorpe and Lizzie went together, a day or two later, to communicate it to Selina and Caroline. Thorpe tried to make a neat little speech, and to present Lizzie as a new-but he broke down when he realised that the sentence ought to end with "sister." It was too absurd, so he coughed, and finished rather lamely "a new relation you know." The Misses Fletcher were astounded and displeased, and said they were delighted, and had foreseen it long before. They fondled Lizzie, and kissed her tenderly, while Thorpe sat on the sill of the open window, and looked on with twinkling eyes. But he did not like it so well when his own
"Come into the garden for five minutes, Lizzie," he said a little later. But his sisters detained her, to ask if she wouldn't put something more on, and to hang about her, as if she were going on an expedition of some difficulty and possible danger, and they could hardly bear to risk their treasure. At last she escaped, and ran out, to find Thorpe leaning against the door which led into the garden, and talking to Dorcas.
"Ah, here you are!" he said. They went down the path together, and paused when they came to the little space at the end. Lizzie pointed upwards. "That is my window."
"Ah!" said Thorpe. "I see. Very handy."
He leaned against the wall, and looked up at the little window with its glittering panes. The steep red roof which caught the western glow, the two or three pigeons perched upon its ridge, the poplar, hardly stirring in the still air, all stood keenly out against the pale blue sky, and
Fletcher studied them as if he were learning them by heart, "I'm going to ask you a question," he said at last, "and I want you to tell me the truth."
She answered with a happy smile, "Do you know, Thorpe, I hope it won't be very inconvenient, but I'm afraid I shall never be able to tell you anything else. I might, perhaps, if you would shut your eyes, but not when you look at me so."
"Hm! I think you managed to keep me in the dark pretty well," he rejoined. "If I'd known I might have come and looked after you a little sooner.'
"Instead of my having to come to you! But what is your question?" "Isn't this where Ernest used to come?"
She nodded, growing suddenly grave.
"I know you care for me now," said Thorpe; "I shan't ask you But suppose I had never come to Lesborough at all, never interfered with you and Ernest, you might have been very happy."
"Perhaps," looking at the ground as she spoke.
Thorpe laid his great hand on her shoulder. "If everything had gone well, don't you think in your heart that that would have been best of all? Your first love, nearer your own age, and I know how you cared for him. Tell me, child," this very gently,-"I can't be happy unless I can get to the bottom of things-tell me the truth, don't you think that might have been the best? You needn't be afraid. Don't think I shall be angry. I shall only want to do more to make you some amends for what I can't give you now."
'Then," said Lizzie, still without looking up, "I'm afraid take so much trouble about me, for oh, Thorpe, I am very glad you came !"
THE idea generally prevailing, among astronomers, respecting the moon's condition is that she is a dead planet, an orb which circles around the sun like her companion planet the earth, but is not, like the earth, the abode of living creatures of any sort. Formerly, indeed, other views were entertained. It was thought that the dark regions were seas, the bright regions continents—a view embodied by Kepler in the saying, 'Do maculas esse maria, do lucidas esse terras.' But the telescope soon satisfied astronomers that there are no seas upon the moon. It has been noted that in two well-known passages of the Paradise Lost, in which Milton touches on the work of Galileo with the telescope, he speaks of lands, mountains, rivers, and regions, but not of oceans or seas, upon the moon. Thus, in describing the shield of Satan, he compares it to
The moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening from the top of Fesolé,
Or in Val d'Arno, to descry new lands,
Rivers, or mountains, on her spotty globe.
While again, in the fifth book, Raphael views the earth.
As when by night the glass
Of Galileo, less assured, observes
Imagined lands and regions in the moon.
We may well believe that had Galileo, in his interviews with Milton, described appearances which (with his telescopic power) resembled seas or oceans, the poet would not have used so vague a word as 'regions' in the third line of the last quoted passage, where the word 'oceans' would so obviously have suggested itself. From the very beginning of the telescopic observation of our satellite, it became clear that no seas or oceans exist upon her surface. And as telescopic power has increased, and the minute details of the moon's surface have been more searchingly scrutinised, it has been seen that there are no smaller water regions, no lakes, or rivers, not even any ponds, or rivulets, or brooks.
But indeed, while the close telescopic scrutiny of the moon was thus showing that there are no water surfaces there, it was becoming also clear that no water could remain there under the sun's rays; that is, on the parts of the moon which are illuminated. For it was found that the moon has an atmosphere so rare that water would boil away at a very
* See Milton's Areopagitica.
low temperature indeed. How rare the lunar atmosphere is we do not certainly know; but a number of phenomena show that it must be very rare indeed. Some of these have been already considered, along with other lunar phenomena, in an article which appeared in the CORNHILL MAGAZINE for August, 1873; and for this reason (especially as that article has since been republished) we do not here enter into this portion of the evidence, our object being to discuss here certain relations, which were not dealt with in that earlier paper.
But now that astronomers have almost by unanimous consent, accepted the doctrine of the development of our system, which involves the belief that the whole mass of each member of the system was formerly gaseous with intensity of heat, they can no longer doubt that the moon once had seas and an atmosphere of considerable density. The moon has in fact, passed through the same changes as our own earth, though not necessarily in the same exact way. She was once vaporous, as was our earth, though not at the same time nor for so long a time. She was once glowing with intensity of heat, though this stage also must have continued for a much shorter time than the corresponding stage of our earth's history. Must we not conclude that after passing through that stage the moon was for a time a habitable world as our earth is now? The great masses of vapour and of cloud which had girt our moon's whole globe, even as in the youth of our earth her seas enwrapped her in cloud form, must at length have taken their place as seas upon her surface. The atmosphere which had supported those waters must at first have been dense by comparison with the present lunar atmosphere, perhaps even by comparison with the present atmosphere of our earth. Then the glowing surface of the moon gradually cooled, until at length the moon must have been a fit abode for life. But whether, when thus swept and garnished into fitness for habitation, the moon actually became an inhabited world, is a question which will be variously answered according to our views respecting the economy of nature in this respect. Those who hold that nature makes nothing in vain, will need only to ask whether the support of life is the one sole purpose which a planet can subserve; if that should appear probable, they would at once decide that the moon must during its habitable stage have been inhabited. Others who, looking around at the workings of nature as known to us, perceive, or think they perceive, that there is much which resembles waste in nature, will be less confident on this point. They may reason that as of many seeds which fall upon the ground, scarce one subserves the one purpose for which seeds can be supposed to have been primarily intended, as many younglings among animals perish untimely, as even many races and types fail of their apparent primary purpose, so cur moon, and possibly many such worlds, may never have subserved and never come to subserve that one chief purpose for which the orbs peopling space can be supposed to have been formed, if purpose indeed reigns throughout the universe.
But we are not here concerned to inquire carefully whether the moon ever was inhabited; we care only to show the probability, the all but certainty, that the moon during one stage of her existence was a habitable body, leaving the questions whether she ever actually had inhabitants, and what (if she had) their nature may have been, to the imagination of the reader. Most certainly there is little reason for believing that on this point men will ever have any real information for their guidance.
Combining together several considerations-viz., first that the moon must have been fashioned as a planet many millions of years before the earth, that her original heat must have been greatly less than that of the earth (corresponding to a reduction of many millions of years in the time required for cooling down to the habitable condition), that each stage of the moon's cooling must have lasted less by many millions of years than the corresponding stage for the earth's cooling, and that lunar gravity being so much less than terrestrial gravity the moon's vulcanian vitality must have lasted for a much shorter time than the earth's -we perceive that the moon must have passed that stage of her history which corresponded to that through which our earth is now passing, many many millions of years ago. It would probably be no exaggeration whatever of the truth to say that more than a thousand millions of years have passed since the moon was a habitable world. But we may quite confidently assert that fully a hundred millions of years have passed since that era of her history. And as the changes which she has undergone since then have occurred at a much more rapid rate than those by which the earth is now passing on and will continue to pass on, for ages yet to come, towards planetary decrepitude, we may assert with equal confidence that the moon in passing through a stage of planetary existence which the earth will not reach for many hundreds of millions of years yet to come. The moon, thus regarded, presents to us a most interesting subject of study, because she illustrates, in general respects if not perhaps in details, the condition which our earth will attain in the remote future. Let us then examine the principal features of the moon,-those which may be regarded as characteristic, which at any rate distinguish her from the earth-and consider how far it is probable that our earth will one day present similar features. We can also inquire how far the moon's present condition may be regarded as that of a dead world, in this sense that she can neither now be, nor (under any conceivable circumstances) hereafter become, once again a habitable world as formerly she presumably was.
There is one very remarkable feature of the moon's motions which is commonly not explained as we are about to explain it, but in a way which would correspond better with the general views indicated in this article, than the interpretation which seems to us preferable. We refer to the circumstance that the moon's rotation on her axis takes place in precisely the same time as her revolution around the earth. This is, in reality, a very strange feature, though it is often dismissed as if there