Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/246

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

The Centaurians

tronomy and return to Centur, suggesting that I be quick about it; he didn't want to be bothered. I informed him of the result of my observations, to wit: That his phenomenal "discovery" was naught but a great mass of congealed vapor subject to constant disturbances and would eventually evaporate.

Saunders argued conscientiously, bringing out maps, conducting me over zigzag astral routes, and explaining that at intervals the mystic planet underwent semi-eclipse, but had observations been continued I would have noticed the oblong pink nebulous soar above the dark obstruction and caught a glimpse of an exquisite roseate scenery that was instantly obscured in thick, rolling, fiery clouds.

I let him do most of the talking, he was more up on the subject than I; but his explanations were long, tedious, and thoroughly wearied me. I decided to give up astronomy. Yes, sir! I had all I wanted of astronomy, but insisted that my suppositions were as acceptable as any—no one knows more about it than the other, which is a mercy. The science is an unfathomable mystery … guesswork. We are one in trillions, the neighborly lights wandering for eternity as we do and forming all manner of wild conclusions.

I soon discovered the star-gazing clique regarded Saunders much as the National Geographical-Geological societies regarded Sheldon. Saunders was not considered a crank exactly, but he was primitive, ludicrous. His statements, theories, were received with suppressed merriment. For diversion