Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/183

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IV

CANALS

I. FIRST APPEARANCES

In the last chapter we saw how badly off for water Mars, to all appearance, is; so badly off that inhabitants of that other world would have to irrigate to live. As to the actual presence there of such folk, the broad physical characteristics of the planet express no opinion beyond the silence of consent, but they have something very vital to say about the conditions under which alone their life could be led. They show that these conditions must be such that in the Martian mind there would be one question perpetually paramount to all the local labor, women's suffrage, and Eastern questions put together—the water question. How to procure water enough to support life would be the great communal problem of the day.

Were Mars like the Earth, we might well despair of detecting signs of any Martians for some time yet. Across the gulf of space that separates us from Mars, an area thirty miles wide would just be perceptible as a dot. It