The next chapter opens with the men of the Fourth Expedition gathering firewood against the cold Martian evening. The scientists have found that all the Martians have died of chickenpox (brought by one of the first three expeditions) — analogous to the devastation of Native American populations by smallpox.
The men, except for the archaeologist Spender and Captain Wilder, become more boisterous. Spender loses his temper when one of his crew-mates starts dropping empty wine bottles into a clear blue canal. He knocks him into the canal. When questioned by his captain, Spender replies “We’ll rip it up, rip the skin off, and change it to fit ourselves…We Earth Men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things,” referring to Earth. He leaves the rest of the landing party to explore Martian ruins.
Note that, in some editions of the collection, the two stories about Jeff Spender have been combined as one.The two collections are chapters seven and eight.
A 1997 edition of the book advances all the dates by 31 years. This story is advanced from 2001 to 2032.