45. An immense wilderness, without limits, extends beyond the agglomeration of stars, of which we have just spoken, and surrounds it. Solitudes succeed to solitudes, and immeasurable plains extend through the far reaching expanse. Masses of cosmic matter are found everywhere isolated in space like islands in a vast archipelago. If one can appreciate, in some measure, the enormous distance which separates the mass of stars, of which we form a part, from the collections nearest to them, it is necessary to know that these stellar islands are disseminated sparsely in the vast ocean of the heavens, and that the extent of space dividing them is immeasurably greater than their respective dimensions.
Now, we must remember that the stellar nebula measure, taken as a unity, a thousand times the distance between the nearest stars; that is to say, some hundred thousand trillions of leagues. The distance between them being much vaster could not be expressed in numbers comprehensible by your minds. The imagination alone, in its highest conceptions, is capable of attaining to this prodigious immensity. These mute solitudes, destitute of all appearance of life, can give one the idea, in some measure, of this relative infinity.