"It is at the full," he murmured. "Pinkish-hued, egg-shaped, as I insisted, contrary to all scientific statements. Gentlemen, behold the planet Virgillius!"
We gave three cheers for the planet Virgillius. (Saunders and myself both gloried in the name of Virgillius.)
We knew the old boy was happy and congratulated him, then viewed the mystery through the telescope. It rose higher, glimmering in pale splendor, weird, unnatural, as it flared in uncanny, pinkish light, without sparkle or brilliancy. Through the telescope the belated star was a disappointment. Partially obscured in spiral nebula, it appeared to be in the liquid state, yet at intervals flared clear, revealing vertical bars of piercing, phosphorous light.
Saunders launched into a learned, very scientific explanation, which the discussive Sheldon prolonged far into the night.
The planet Virgillius was a "stellar apparition," a "solar phenomenon," and the farther south we advanced the more vivid would the rose light glow. Nine moons circled this singular planet, which revolved through space in the same sphere directly opposite our "solar globe."
Saunders lectured volubly, but the learned atmosphere evaporated the instant he and Sheldon attempted an estimate of the distance between the planet Virgillius and Earth. Saxe. joined in the argument, shouting: "Unfathomable!" When the noise quieted I mildly suggested the dull-hued star might possibly be a moon. This startling announce-