Page:Mars - Lowell.djvu/224

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the canals first make themselves suspected, rather than seen, as broad, faint streaks smooching the disk. Such effect, however, seems to be an optical illusion, due to poor air and the difficulty inherent in detecting fine detail; for on improvement in the seeing I have observed these broad streaks contract to fine lines, not sensibly different in width from what they eventually become.

The parts of the canals which are nearest the dark areas show first, the line extending sometimes for a few hundred miles into the continent, sometimes for a thousand or more; then, in course of time, the canal becomes evident in its entirety. Complete visibility takes place soon after the canal has once begun to show, although it show but faintly throughout.

This tendency to being seen in toto is more strikingly displayed after a canal has attained its development. It is then not commonly seen in part. Either it is not seen at all, owing to the seeing not being good enough, or it is visible throughout its length from one junction to another.

Apart from their extension, the growth of the canals consists chiefly in depth of tint. They darken rather than broaden,—a fact which tends to corroborate their vegetal character; for that long tracts of country should be thus simultaneously flooded all over to a gradually