|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||Astera-kesphoros; The Star of Healing|
Astera-kesphoros: The Star of Healing. By Mary Hannay Foott
[WRITTEN FOR TEH QUEENSLANDER ] CHAPTER VII.
"One day, soon after you came with your brave little Ken to Mountain Crown," said the astronomer to Fran, "you told me, as doubtless you remember, of the lace veil you had begun
to design for the Grand Duchess Nancie. You had mingled, you told me, the blossoms of the air-dwelling orchids in the tree tops about your tent in your design for the border, and you felt that the fittest centre for the flowers to frame would be one suggesting the starry sky. You found a difficulty, I understood, in designing such a centre, because— as you expressed it, I believe—'the sky has no pattern.' "All my life I have loved to look through the orchids in the palm-heads here at the host of heaven—just at you had learned to do since you came to live on the Crown—at evening as they steal one by one silver-soft into the twilight; at depth of night, when they burn in their myriads, red planets, and golden, and blue, and diamond-clear distant stars; and while they flicker and wane in the wind of dawn. The sky, Miss Kenrick, is to me my country. Its shining citizens are as my kindred and my father's house. Only Erica's mother and the King, of all the people I had known, my wife and my friend, had ever looked upon the stars with the admiration which is their due. Now I had found one more who did them honour; you who so much admired the beauty of the sky itself and of its orchid frame could not have failed to recognise the loftier loveliness of the stars. It was not just to them or to you that you should remain ignorant that they were even fairer than you dreamed; that you should not see them as they are. If in so seeing them you won a fresh idea for your work it was, I believed, no harm but only good. It was thus I came to show you them the first time through my grandfather's lens as my father showed them to me, and as I had in turn shown them to my wild little Erica's mother and to my life-long friend the King." "It is all real then?" said Fran, "not only an appearance caused by the glass you let me look through, by your grandfather's lens?" "Quite real," said Eric. "Quite real," said the King. "There is something more, then." said Fran, glancing anxiously from Eric Brightstone's face to the King's. "You did not bring me here while my poor Mollie's child is lying like one dead only to speak to me of the beauty of the stars. If they are to shine on his grave it is the grave we shall look at ever after—his mother and I—we shall have no eyes for the stars." "There is something more; if you are brave —and l am sure you are brave—the stars will not shine on the boy's grave yet awhile," said the King. "The heavenly spaces," resumed the astro nomer, "as you have discovered in looking through my grandfather's lens, are not empty betwixt star and star, but are woven across and bridged every way with, as it appeared to you through the lens, threads innumerable, flexible and fine as gossamer. These are fila ments formed by gases exhaled by the different worlds. In the pure ether of the spaces these gases crystallise and form themselves into vast double ellipses with stairs set between the two. Every star forms the centre of a group of such ellipses, all set with one end looped close over its own star—the star whence the crystallised gases forming it exhaled—and the far ther end looped through the farther end of one of the ellipses coming from another star. The stars thus, as you have seen through the lens, are all like so many centres of flowers of which the ellipses form the petals. Years after this dis covery was made by means of the lens it was found that there was a way of determining of what substances different star-worlds were composed. My grandfather, my father, and myself have all made observations with regard to a certain star which attracted my grand father's notice by its peculiar pearl-like brilliancy. He tested its rays in order to discover of what materials it might be composed. The result of his experiment was that he formed the belief that the star in question was composed entirely of such substances as are beneficial to mankind, nourishing in health, restorative in weakness, curative in case of accident or disease. Whilst he was still busy in examining into the matter a visitor arrived from the star itself. It was a long while before they were able to understand one another, but at last they succeeded in interchanging ideas, and my grandfather had the happiness to find that his
experiments had not been futile, and that the ideas he had formed of the star were correct. More than this: The discovery had already been made, ages before, in other planets, and was still being made anew in others again, and there was a constant inflow of arrivals upon it from the less fortunate worlds about. It had taken the visitor so long to learn earth-speech, as he called our language, that the moment at which, unless he was willing to stay for many years in this planet, he was forced to go arrived without his having explained to my grand father how the afflicted earth-people might find their way to his world. This however, he, and afterwards my father and myself, laboured long to discover, and our united efforts have at last won success. You will be able to go there with Ken — " "Go?—To a star?" exclaimed Fran. "Yes," replied the astronomer, "to a star." "A star!" Fran repeated in bewilderment "Why not?" said the King. "Once, as you know, people could not go from land to land across the sea. Now it is an every-day matter. Even yet we do not go quite as we will across the heavenly spaces from world to world. There is one world, however, to which we may go, and be the better for going. Eric Brightstone, my friend here, was to have gone to it—if the final work he and I are to do to-night gives the results he anticipates—at midnight to-morrow. At that hour the star should be exactly over head." "The star?" said Fran again, still as if bewildered. "What star?" "Astera-kesphoros," replied the astronomer. "The Star of Healing." [TO BE CONTINUED.]