Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/101

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The Centaurians

Almost impenetrable obstacles constantly blocked us; the tedious climbing, cutting steps in ice boulders, then hoisting and hauling the car, the descent into dangerous, curving, lane-crevices, with the constant fear of ice wedging together and crushing us, and once we barely escaped just clearing the treacherous parting when the cliffs above caved in, piling high in the opening. The exhausting weeks of profitless travel harrowed us to desperation, and I cursed my folly in joining the expedition. We seemed hopelessly, irretrievably lost. With the exception of myself all suffered some ailment. Saxe. lost two fingers, the frozen members had to be amputated. Saunders had an attack of scurvy, which I treated successfully, but could not cure permanently. I consoled and advised the pair to rest easy. Sheldon thought we could manage with frequent stoppages, but he soon joined his unhappy comrades, very seriously hurt. Trudging along, his mind thousands of miles away, presumably upon the illusive body of water, he calmly stepped in a rugged new parting, falling his length and breaking his ankle. I set the bones but Sheldon was laid up two months and would carry a game leg the rest of his life. He was keen with energy and accomplished much during his imprisonment. He started a map of the new continent, and out of the debris collected from the lost Propellier fashioned a queer concern which he called a stove. Saxe. mixed some mysterious ingredient with the oil the Esquimaux gave him and produced a fluid that burned, but—stink! Still it threw out consider-