Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/154

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The Centaurians

of a steep mossy bank, and down this soft incline we recklessly tumbled and rolled, hauling and mauling each other, and simultaneously plunged into the water with a tremendous splash—the water was tepid and stinging. Saxe. suggested it was the salt, but Saunders was positive we bathed in fresh water, while Sheldon declared it was lime, and these advanced people wished to do away with us to get possession of the car. It was certainly a villainous plot. But we emerged from the plunge with tingling, glistening skins, and meekly submitted to the severe rubbing down that even a pugilist would balk against. Swathed in fleecy wool, we were hustled through a panel door, down a winding, oven-heated alley, which led, in some mysterious way, direct to our apartments. They handled us like toys, these cast-iron people, and quickly assisted us into fresh clothing—the costume of Centauri, which suited us well, though Sheldon whined that he felt naked. Saxe. and Saunders bothered continually about the chemicals contained in the bath, and quizzed the attendants, who pretended not to understand; both however declared they felt as fresh as daisies and good for all night.

"No doubt," said Sheldon, "freshness is proverbial with daisies, though I've seen many that reeked the other way; but recollect everything on this side is six centuries ahead, even to the water, and the Centaurians seem pretty rapid. That stiff, old chap, the Governor, is going to let us in for some tall doings."

Saxe. flushed angrily as I snickered approval of