It is the duty of every first-class magazine to keep abreast of the intelligence of its readers, to give the majority of those readers that which they prefer. THE CAVALIER takes pride in catering to the intellectual wants of its friends, regardless of cost.
For example: Esperanto. the international language, through which ultimately all peoples will be able to speak intelligently to each other, has taken a tremendous hold upon the American public, so much so that we have received many suggestions that a story printed in Esperanto would attract some attention and afford considerable pleasure to the students who have already mastered that language.
On this page, in English, we publish a story entitled “In 2112,” from the pen of J. U. Giesy and J. B. Smith, well known to readers of THE CAVALIER. “In 2112” was translated into Esperanto by Dr. Elmer E. Haynes. It follows the English version in this number of THE CAVALIER.
In order to insure absolute accuracy even up to the very hour of going to press, the proofs of “In 2112” were read by one of the leading authorities on the international language. Readers of THE CAVALIER interested in the subject will find considerable information of importance in “A Glimpse of Esperanto,” which can be secured from the Esperanto Association of North America, Washington, D. C.
What I am especially concerned about just now is, how do you like this idea as a whole?—THE EDITOR.
“WAKE up,” said the professor, and I opened my eyes.
He handed me a cup, and with equal obedience I lifted it somewhat weakly and drank its contents.
Presently he assisted me to stand dizzily upon my feet. “We have had a long sleep, I think,” he went on. “If my experiment worked out all right, we are both now something over two hundred years old.”
Then I remembered. I had allowed the professor to hypnotize me, and the last I could recall was his low-toned voice commanding me to “sleep.”
I wondered now if he might be some crazy fanatic, as well as a hypnotist. That I had been asleep for a long time I was willing to admit, for I felt weak and half-starved, but two hundred years! That was a little too much. Still—I decided to try and find out what my companion really thought he meant.
“Where are we?" I asked.
“In a secret place I had built for the experiment,” he replied promptly, and waved his hand about the room.
I followed his gesture, and I confess the two-hundred-year idea began to look more plausible. There were two cots in the place, and they were covered with rags. The coverings from which I had just risen were tattered and moldered with age. Even the clothing I had worn was dropping into shreds, and the professor’s clothes were equally frayed.
He noted my glance and smiled, walked to a small trunk, which appeared to be hermetically sealed, and broke it open with an effort, motioning me to approach. I obeyed, and he drew out a couple of suits of clothing, giving me one and retaining the other himself.
“This apartment,” he continued, “was built under my home, by my orders, and after I put you to sleep a friend of mine did the same for me: I wanted to try the experiment, and was willing to take the risk. After I was asleep they carried us here and sealed us in. Now we will go out. I wonder what the world is like, after all the years.”
Once more we had a drink of the old, old wine, which had been left with us, and clad in our new clothing, we attacked a place in the wall where the professor said
the last stone had been sealed in. After some time it loosened and we dragged it out, and crawled through into a dark place, which the professor told me ought to be the basement of his former home.
Anyhow, he knew the way and led me to what seemed to be a flight of steps up which we mounted rather dizzily, I confess. At the top a door barred us. I heard my companion grunt. “It seems to be of metal; the old one was wood.” He fumbled about, and presently the door could be pushed back, only, instead of folding, it proved to slide into a slot in the wall. “They’ve made changes,” commented the former owner. “Well, come on and let’s see what we can find.”
We crept out into an apartment faintly illuminated from the outside. Apparently it was night, and yet there was a strange glow in the air—a sort of subdued daylight, like early twilight, coming from apparently nowhere, for as I crossed to the window and looked out, I could see the sky dark above the trees around the house, and no signs of street lamps—only the strange luminance in the lower air.
“Wonder how they make the light!” said the professor at my shoulder. “Wonder what time it is! Don’t seem to be anybody up. Let’s try to find out where we are and what year this is, and if they have anything for a pair of tramps from the year 1912 to eat.”
We found a door and entered a passage. It was an odd passage, and as we stepped upon it, it started into action and carried us for a ways, without any effort of ours, and then stopped again before another door.
“Moving platform,” mused my companion. “Great labor-saving device; we were just beginning to think of them when we went to sleep.”
From under the door where we stood we could now see the some light we had noticed outside, only stronger. I pointed to the thread of brilliance. The professor nodded. “Somebody up, after all,” he remarked. “Well, here goes.” He seized the edge of the door and shoved it back, and we both stepped into the room.
A shriek rang through the air. A figure which had been sitting at a table in the room sprang erect and stared at us as though unable to do else than stare after that first wild cry. The figure was that of what in our day would have been a young person of perhaps seventeen or eighteen, and was clad entirely in white. As it stood there it reminded me of old pictures of the Grecians, for the soft folds of the clothing fell unrestrained from the shoulders to a little below the knee, save for a narrow circlet just beneath the busts. Her hair—it was a girl or woman—was piled upon a shapely little head, and her lower limbs, from the edge of her gown, were protected only by a pair of sandallike things fastened by crisscross ribbons which extended to above the calf of the leg. From the shoulder her beautifully rounded arms were bare, and the low collar of her dress fell upon and showed a pink and white neck and upper chest.
The professor stepped toward her. “Do not be alarmed, my dear young woman,” he began.
But she shook her head. “Mi ne komprenas,” she murmured, puzzled. I started. I knew the tongue. Two hundred years before I had studied Esperanto. I spoke to her at once. “Chu vi parolas la Esperanton, Fraulino?”
“Esperanto?” said the girl. “Yes, I believe they formerly called it so. To-day all civilized nations speak it. Who are you, who come upon me thus?”
Well, I told her our story, and offered to show her the place we had just left. Her eyes lighted with interest, and she smiled, with a flash of teeth. “First you must eat, then I shall get you some fit clothing, then we shall go see this place you mention. I am greatly interested in your tale. Come.”
She turned and led us to a small door, slid it back, and motioned us to enter. We stepped in, and an instant later came out on the second floor. It was an elevator of a sort, built into the wall. The girl led us to a room and opened the door. “My brother’s,” she explained. “He is not yet home, but you must be clothed.” She crossed, pulled out some drawers from a panel in the wall, and handed us each what looked to me like the garments of an ancient Roman, being short-skirted tunics, in fact.
“While you are dressing I shall prepare you something to eat,” she told us, and started to turn away.
“And we are to put on those things?” I inquired.
“Of course,” said the girl.
“Rather—er—scanty, aren’t they?” I began, and paused as I looked into her violet eyes, now widening. Then she began to laugh the least bit.
“Now I believe your tale,” she replied. “You talk like the ancients might have done. Clothing with us is worn as a comfort and protection from the elements, not as a method of concealment, my friend.”
I changed the subject before this slim young creature could give me another dig. “What is the light?” I asked, “and how do you control it? I saw it flash up as we entered this room.”
“There is a button in the sill,” she explained, smiling. “The light is just sunlight, diluted a bit.”
“Diluted sunlight!” I gasped.
She leaned against the door-frame and laughed outright at that. “Oh, this is funny,” she giggled. “Of course, you didn’t have it then, did you? Well, we absorb the sunlight now and release it at will. We light houses and streets and everything with the solar absorbent light. But I’m no scientist. My brother will explain. I must get you some food. Which would you prefer, physical or mental food?”
I was lost. “Both,” I replied shortly, and though she smiled, she nodded and stepped into the wall. I suppose the elevator took her down.
The professor and I dressed, and I confess I was ashamed of myself, while the professor’s bare shanks made me laugh. Pretty soon the girl flounced back unannounced, and took us down to lunch, or whatever that midnight meal might have been. We ate. What the stuff was, I don’t know, but it tasted good after my long fast. She explained that certain things were for the development of brain force, and others for physical energy. I ate of both and felt better, and after that I offered to show her our vacated tomb.
She rose and accompanied me. As we went down the dark passage and across the old cellar I thought to ask her if she were not afraid.
She shook her head and laughed, then thrust her hand into the breast of her gown and drew out something like a lead-pencil in size. “I could blind you or kill you with this,” she informed me easily, and hid it back in her dress.
I was staggered. “What was it?” I cried.
“A radium pistol,” she explained. “They are very deadly things. We use them only to defend ourselves, and only women may carry them, according to laws passed after the last great war, when several nations were quite annihilated by modifed forms of these things. Women, however, may use them in their own defense.”
It was all very strange. I looked at the girl again. Under the soft light which poured from a plate in the ceiling, where she had switched it on, her slight, supple form stood revealed in all its beauty, its curves barely covered, rather than concealed by the clinging folds of her gown. I seemed to have awakened from my long sleep the same man of twenty-eight. At least, in that moment I felt all the impulses of my youth. I stretched forth my hands to her. Her loveliness, the gold of her hair, the violet of her eyes, the red of her lips, the soft pink of her throat and arms, seemed very desirable. I looked for the professor. Already he had crawled through the hole into our former resting-place, where a dim candle flickered. I seized the maiden by the hands and drew her toward me and looked into her eyes. “I love you—love you,” I whispered. “I don’t even know your name, but I love you, my own.”
She did not resist. She yielded, in fact, and let me draw her into my arms. I clasped her close and felt the warmth of her flesh strike through to my own. I could feel the throb of her heart against my breast. Very slowly she raised her eyes and looked up into mine, while she nestled in my arms. “My name is Maida,” she whispered. “And yours, strange man of yesterday, whom I love, in turn?”
“Is Jones—plain Bill Jones.” Then I opened my eyes.
The professor was standing in front of me, with a smile on his lips.
I started out of my chair and nearly fell over. “What did you butt in for?” I demanded. Where’s Maida, anyway? Where’d she go?”
“I reckon she went back to 2112,” said the professor, with a grin.
“Cut that out,” I told him. “I want that girl. What you been doin’ to me, anyway?”
“I sent you to 2112 to see what it was like,” he observed, and sat down in his old Morris chair.
“Then I didn’t sleep two hundred years?”
“You slept ten minutes, Bill Jones.”
“And all that was merely—an experiment of yours?”
“Merely an experiment, Bill. Tell me what you thought you saw.”
SOURCE: Giesy, J[ohn] U[lrich]; Smith, Junius B. In 2112, The Cavalier, vol. 18, no. 4, August 10, 1912, p. 745-747; with “En 2112,” Esperanto translation by Elmer E. Haynes, pp. 748-750.
Note: Neither the original typography nor the original two-column formatting is preserved here.
The paired authors were introduced in the February 17, 1912 issue (Vol. XII No. 2) of The Cavalier with their story The Occult Detector [Part 1 of 3; Prince Abdul Omar of Persia (Semi-Dual)]. In 2112 was the first of a series of 5 more stories published in English and Esperanto, upon which the experiment was concluded.
The Esperanto translation was later back-translated into English:
In 2112,” translated from Esperanto by Forrest J. Ackerman, International Science Fiction, No. 2, June 1968, pp. 93-97. New York: Galaxy Publishing Corporation.
Elmer E. Haynes & John A. Morris on J. U. Giesy et al in the pulps (1915)
J. U. Giesy (John Ulrich, 1877-1948) & His Collaborators
The Cavalier: Covers & Contents
Esperanto in early science fiction to 1930 by Everet F. Bleiler.
2112 (1912) by J. U. Giesy & J. B. Smith,
translated into Esperanto by Elmer E. Haynes, M.D.
Farewell to Esperanto
by Bob Davis, the Editor
(The Cavalier, 15 Feb 1913)
Sciencfikcio & Utopia Literaturo en Esperanto / Science Fiction & Utopian Literature in Esperanto: Gvidilo / A Guide
Science Fiction & Utopia Research Resources: A Selective Work in Progress
Futurology, Science Fiction, Utopia, and Alienation
in the Work of Imre Madách, György Lukács, and Other Hungarian Writers:
` Esperanto & Interlinguistics Study Guide / Retgvidilo pri Esperanto & Interlingvistiko
J. U. Giesy @ Ĝirafo
Internet Speculative Fiction Database
John Ulrich Giesy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John Ulrich Giesy @ Project Gutenberg of Australia
scienfikcio @ Ĝirafo
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