Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/148

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The Centaurians

revolving around a powerful arm that hammered swiftly up and down, and received force from a treacherous looking cylinder dashing back and forth. I became absorbed in the confusion of wires drawn swiftly over their golden pulleys, the sheen of yellow metal was dazzling.

Tolna turned me over to the engineer, who invited me to enter the glass cage with him. The kindly fellow patiently answered all my questions (know the senseless questions of greenhorns?) and explained the whole intricate mass of machinery which comprised five distinct separate engines, with only one in action; and fascinated, I watched the one working engine that compelled this huge structure to float upon the air. Then I made thorough examinations, vividly impressing the whole superb complication upon my memory. I was determined to master the mystery of the air ship before returning to my own country. Finally Tolna returned, some sign passed between him and the engineer, which I caught for all my absorbed contemplation. Evidently the engineer wished me out of the way, and hurriedly I departed with Tolna, who informed me my friends had made inquiries for me.

My three friends were hugely enjoying themselves. Each in their element, the center of a crowd, were lecturing with gusto upon the merits of their respective hobbies. Saxe. was exhibiting the interior of his car, and his face glowed with pride at the extraordinary interest the Centaurians took in the engraving of the lost Propellier.