Featured Posts

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

by Mark Twain PREFACE The ungentle laws and customs touched upon in this tale are historical, and the episodes which are used to illustrate them are also historical. It is not pretended that these laws and customs ...

Read More

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

by Harriet A. Jacobs I. Childhood I was born a slave; but I never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away. My father was a carpenter, and considered so intelligent and skilful in ...

Read More

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO

by Alexandre Dumas Chapter 1. Marseilles—The Arrival. On the 24th of February, 1815, the look-out at Notre-Dame de la Garde signalled the three-master, the Pharaon from Smyrna, Trieste, and Naples. As usual, a pilot put off immediately, and ...

Read More

The Decameron

by Giovanni Boccaccio Here Beginneth the Book Called Decameron and Surnamed Prince Galahalt Wherein Are Contained an Hundred Stories in Ten Days Told by Seven Ladies and Three Young Men Proem A kindly thing it is to have ...

Read More

A Short History of the World

by H. G. Wells THE WORLD IN SPACE THE story of our world is a story that is still very imperfectly known. A couple of hundred years ago men possessed the history of little more than the ...

Read More

The Second Jungle Book

by Rudyard Kipling HOW FEAR CAME The Law of the Jungle—which is by far the oldest law in the world—has arranged for almost every kind of accident that may befall the Jungle People, till now its code ...

Read More

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

by Arthur Conan Doyle A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA I TO Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of ...

Read More

ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN

By Mark Twain CHAPTER I. YOU don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark ...

Read More

A Modest Proposal

by Jonathan Swift It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female ...

Read More

Utopia

by Saint Thomas More INTRODUCTION Sir Thomas More, son of Sir John More, a justice of the King’s Bench, was born in 1478, in Milk Street, in the city of London. After his earlier education at St. ...

Read More

Father Goriot

by Honoré de Balzac Mme. Vauquer (nee de Conflans) is an elderly person, who for the past forty years has kept a lodging-house in the Rue Nueve-Sainte-Genevieve, in the district that lies between the Latin Quarter ...

Read More

The Imitation of Earth

by James Stamers: Once they had been human—now they shared a remarkable destiny on an incredible new planet.... He was in some dark, moving medium which pressed him gently and released him and pressed against him again with ...

Read More

Second Variety

by Philip K. Dick The claws were bad enough in the first place—nasty, crawling little death-robots. But when they began to imitate their creators, it was time for the human race to make peace—if it could! The ...

Read More

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES

By A. Conan Doyle Chapter 1. Mr. Sherlock Holmes Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast ...

Read More

A Journey to the Centre of the Earth

by Jules Verne CHAPTER 1 MY UNCLE MAKES A GREAT DISCOVERY Looking back to all that has occurred to me since that eventful day, I am scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures. They were ...

Read More

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

by Benjamin Franklin INTRODUCTORY NOTE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was born in Milk Street, Boston, on January 6, 1706. His father, Josiah Franklin, was a tallow chandler who married twice, and of his seventeen children Benjamin was the youngest ...

Read More

The Adventure of the Dying Detective

by Arthur Conan Doyle Mrs. Hudson, the landlady of Sherlock Holmes, was a long-suffering woman. Not only was her first-floor flat invaded at all hours by throngs of singular and often undesirable characters but her remarkable ...

Read More

Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

by Hamilton Wright Mabie The fairy tale is a poetic recording of the facts of life, an interpretation by the imagination of its hard conditions, an effort to reconcile the spirit which loves freedom and goodness ...

Read More

PETER PAN

By J. M. Barrie [James Matthew Barrie] Chapter 1 PETER BREAKS THROUGH All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she ...

Read More

The Troublemakers

by George O. Smith: What did Genetics and Hansen's Folly have in common? Why, everything ... Genetics was statistical and Hansen's Folly impossible! I The living room reflected wealth, position, good taste. In size it was a full ten feet ...

Read More

The Radio Man

by Ralph Milne Farley:

1
the message in the meteor

Never had I been so frightened in all my life! It was a warm evening late in August, and I was sitting on the kitchen steps of my Chappaquiddick Island farmhouse, discussing the drought with one of the farm hands. Suddenly there appeared in the sky over our heads a flaming fiery mass, rushing straight downward toward us.

“Here’s where a shooting star gets me,” I thought, as I instinctively ducked my head, just as though such a feeble move as ducking one’s head could afford any possible protection from the flaming terror. The next instant there came a dull crash, followed by silence, which in turn was broken by the hired man dryly remarking: “I reckon she struck over to Cow Hill.” Cow Hill was the slight elevation just back of our farmhouse.

So the meteor hadn’t been aimed exactly at me, after all.

If that thing had hit me, some one else would be giving to the world this story.

We did nothing further about the meteor that night, being pretty well shaken up by the occurrence. But next morning, as soon as the chores were done, the hired man and I hastened to the top of Cow Hill to look for signs of last night’s fiery visitor.

And, sure enough, there were plenty of signs. Every spear of grass was singed from the top of the hill; the big rock on the summit showed marks of a collision; and several splinters of some black igneous material were lying strewed around. Leading from the big rock there ran down the steep side of the hill a gradually deepening furrow, ending in a sort of caved-in hole.

We could not let slip such a good opportunity to get some newspaper publicity for our farm. And so on the following Friday a full account of the meteoric visitation appeared in the Vineyard Gazette, with the result that quite a number of summer folks walked across the island from the bathing beach to look at the hole.

And there was another result, for early the following week I received a letter from Professor Gerrish, of the Harvard Observatory, stating that he had read about the meteor in the paper, and requesting that I send him a small piece—or, if possible, the whole meteor—by express, collect, for purposes of analysis.

Anything for dear old Harvard! Unfortunately all the black splinters had been carried away by tourists. So I set the men to work digging out the main body. Quite a hole was dug before we came to the meteor, a black pear-shaped object about the size of a barrel. With rock tongs, chains and my pair of Percherons, we dragged this out onto the level. I had hoped that it would be small enough so that I could send the whole thing up to Harvard and perhaps have it set up in front of the Agassiz Museum, marked with a bronze plate bearing my name; but its size precluded this.

My wife, who was present when we hauled it out, remarked: “It looks just like a huge black teardrop or raindrop.”

And sure enough it did. But why not? If raindrops take on a streamline form in falling, why might not a more solid meteor do so as well? But I had never heard of one doing so before. This new idea prompted me to take careful measurements and to submit them to Professor O. D. Kellogg, of the Harvard mathematics department, who was summering at West Chop near by. He reported to me that the form was as perfectly streamlined as it was possible to conceive, but that my surmise as to how it had become so was absurd.

While making these measurements I was attracted by another feature of the meteor. At one place on the side, doubtless where it had struck the big rock, the black coating had been chipped away, disclosing a surface of yellow metal underneath. Also there was to be seen in this metal an absolutely straight crack, extending as far as the metal was exposed, in a sidewise direction.

At the time the crack did not attract me so much as the metal. I vaguely wondered if it might not be gold. But, being reminded of Professor Gerrish’s request for a sample of the meteor, I had one of the men start chiseling off some pieces.

Download full book

New Lamps
Search the Sky