Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/44

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The Centaurians

ered before me complete I cussed softly, and for the first time doubted my skill. The beauty, contour of the machine was ruined. I would try it again of course, but I was a fool to attempt where Saxe. had failed. Cautiously I set to work to discover the blunder and accidentally touched the propeller, which suddenly rose and shot into its socket and started all portions of the machine into action. I caught my breath, not daring to believe, then commenced experimenting by uncoupling the brakes. The instrument darted forward several yards without the customary whirring noise which warned the operator of a smash-up. I could have shouted for joy—Saxe.'s machine was perfected—I had succeeded.

I discovered the cylinders were partially filled with a peculiar, odorless liquid, and recklessly entered the car and adjusted the lever. The locomotive jerkily responded and slowly we rolled around the room. I had much difficulty steering clear of the walls and various articles in the way and became interested and perplexed in the regular action of the propeller, which shot in and out as though seeking something to demolish, and at last, for all my care, the diamond prod crashed into a huge square of glass and crushed it to atoms. Then it flashed upon me what Saxe.'s invention was intended for and in spite of myself I shouted. An answering shout reached me from the landing outside. I sprang from the car and flung open the door. Three men, wild with excitement, rushed in upon me. Saxe. grabbed and embraced me, yelling all sorts