Page:Melbourne and Mars.djvu/32

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30
MELBOURNE AND MARS.

and skill exhibited by his father in saving his life, which he undoubtedly did, although he could not prevent the final little fall through, the tree. Charlie's part was just that of a careless and curious little boy, and what he did perilled the life of all his family. Let us hope that the lesson he has received may last him for life.

Had Charlie's father been going in any other direction he would have caught Charlie before he got to the tree tops. For the air boat can be made to descend faster than a falling body. If there had been more room and time the boat would have gone under Charlie, and still descending, would have caught him without stopping his fall too rapidly. Some of you know the air boat rules of flight. To the north three hundred feet, to the south six hundred feet, to the east, nine hundred feet, and to the west twelve hundred feet.

When the accident happened Charlie's family were going north, and so could not fly at a height of more than three hundred feet. The manometer in the air boat, or flying fish, as it is frequently called, always indicates the height, and the compass the direction. Before these rules were made and strictly enforced accidents were frequent. They are now rare. A swift moving boat may give a slower one a push in the back, but the overtaking boat has to pass to the right, and is held as in fault if it damaged the slower one. Special boats may travel in any direction and at any rate in the upper air. Below the twelve hundred feet the boats travel at right angles, and changing direction change height. They are also limited as to speed, not being allowed to go more than a mile a minute.'"[1]

For some months now, nearly a year, our diarist's days are much alike. To record them as they are mentioned would be tiresome to writer and reader. They are the days of a schoolboy who is fond of his studies, his teacher and his classmates, and whose whole life is harmonious, happy and healthy.

The air boat is repaired, and the family takes afternoon trips as before, Charley being more careful now. The summer is passed, and preparations are being made for the coming winter. Incidently we find that the school week is only four days, and that the fifth is a rest day from all work, and is regarded as a Sabbath. The temporary consciousness of earth-life in the new life that he manifested when injured has not been repeated, so that he can only set down the experiences that come in the ordinary way, and can be remembered.

But now comes winter, an important event for the quickening faculties

  1. The mile mentioned by Gaston is probably the mile of the new world, which our diarist later on tells us, is one ten-thousandth the diameter of the planet—short of four thousand of our miles. The new mile, therefore, is about one-third, of ours, and the distance per hour allowed somewhere near thirty-three earth miles—a very respectable speed.