Chapter XXIV. What Happened Afterward
 

There remains only to tell what became of the various characters of the tale.

McCarthy, on whom the action started, returned, but never regained his political hold. Darrow always maintained that this was only the most obvious result of his policy of delaying the denouement. People had been forced to think seriously of such matters; and, when aroused, the public conscience is right.

Darrow demanded, and received, the large money reward for his services in the matter. Pocketing whatever blame the public and his fellow scientists saw fit to hand out to him, he and Jack Warford disappeared in command of a small schooner. The purpose of the expedition was kept secret; its direction was known only to those most intimately concerned. If it ever returns, we may know more of it.

Eldridge went on being a scientist, exactly as before.

Simmons received a gold medal, a large cash sum, any amount of newspaper space, and an excellent opportunity to go on a vaudeville circuit.

Hallowell had his salary raised; and received in addition that rather vague brevet title of "star reporter".

Helen Warford is still attractive and unmarried. Whether the latter condition is only pending the return of the expedition is not known.

As for the city, it has gone back to its everyday life, and the riffles on the surface have smoothed themselves away. In outside appearances everything is as before. Yet for the present generation, at least, the persistence of the old independent self-reliance of the people is assured. They have been tested, and they have been made to think of elemental things seriously. For some time to come the slow process of standardization has been arrested.

THE END