Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/103

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The Centaurians

followed the coast line. Saxe. indulged in calculations, figuring that with even travel we should be rid of this "infernal snow region" in about eight weeks. He informed us this great body of water was a continuation of the Arctic ocean, and we had been traveling all along over its petrified, or frozen surface; it was his opinion that at present we were drifting southward upon a huge floe. Possibly he believed this, but I have always thought he wished to excite Saunders, who had been unusually silent of late. Sheldon, wide-awake and understanding, suggested we had doubled on our tracks and were now invading an undiscovered portion of Greenland. It occurred to him (Sheldon) there was something familiar about the scenery.

But Saunders wouldn't bite, and muttered something to the effect that he "didn't give a d——." Sheldon chuckled knowingly.

We discovered seal and walrus in enormous numbers, great fellows sprawling over rocks and icy beach; they stared at us in astonishment, possibly wondering what species we might be. Farther down the coast we fell in with birds—birds by the million. Undoubtedly they belonged to the sea-gull family, but resembled storks, with plumage varying from gray to white. Great birds of solemn mien, they would form in line right to the water's edge and stand there upon one leg for hours. We never found out what they were waiting for, and our approach did not disturb them. I firmly believe that strong regimental line was formed merely for slum-