Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/313

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The Centaurians

to do when we got there, and the signals we were to send to the gaping boys down here. We traveled very rapidly, attaining a height never reached by balloon. We suffered, of course, hemorrhage attacked us in its most malignant forms, but we paid no heed to this weakness, believing in the scientific assurances that as we became accustomed to the rarified, ever-changing altitude, such annoyances would cease—and they did.

"In the meantime the higher we pierced this atmosphere the farther away the moon seemed, and our own globe had become a huge, glowing ball, throwing out a powerful radius of rosy light, tinting space a deep pink to seemingly unfathomable spheres. We had sailed far and above this roseate radiance when panic seized us, all had one unuttered thought, an intense desire to return to earth, but enough of the world remained in us to secrete cowardice. I, for one, lost courage entirely with the eccentric movements of the ship which suddenly zigzagged oddly, giving great bounds upward, then fell back a space and shot slantways across the sky; but for all of her queer antics she continually gained in height, and height apparently was all we concerned ourselves about.

"However, gradually everything ceased to interest us, a peculiar indifference embraced all, a deadly lassitude. We lolled around seeking rest, peace, to dream forever in blessed forgetfulness of existence, to sail always in the cool, blue depths of eternity. How long I remained in that strange tranquillity I shall never know, but suddenly shrieked with the