Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/40

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The Centaurians

mous as a lecturer and ranked high in various Geographical-Geological societies, who, however, considered his views concerning the vast ocean of fresh water rather as a joke, a side issue, a hobby; he was not taken seriously. Saunders was a scientific writer of renown and referred to as an authority upon the stellar science, but astronomers while listening gravely, sympathetically, to his learned discourse upon the known but invisible planet, were frankly skeptical and a daring few challenged him. It was then, Sheldon informed me, that Saunders spunkily made his rushing trips to the north and back again, then stoically issued a new thesis upon the invisible twin world which usually silenced, for a time, his derogators. But Saxe., no one dared exchange witticisms with him, his natural secretiveness and air of mystery he affected made all regard him with awe and boosted him to the celebrity class. His studied aloofness forced continual respect, something few brilliant men have been able to retain.

"Spread, air your plans," he said, "and at once you lose interest in them; they never again belong entirely to you; besides, people shy at you. Hopes keep as invisible as your heart."

He was wonderful in his firm belief that he of all men was destined to discover the North Pole.

And here after all my wanderings and bizarre experiences, my strong ambitions and brilliant ideas, I, with my vast wealth and equally vast longings, winded up with this strange trio. But their buoyant confidence attracted me, it was an entirely new