Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/47

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The Centaurians

ence nodded approval, and he was enthusiastically applauded when he finally ended his remarks.

Then Sheldon, encouraged by his colleagues and not to be outdone by Saunders in one little instance, rose and exploded his theory concerning the rivers, lakes and vast body of fresh water supposedly located in the vicinity of the Pole. He created a sensation and in his enthusiasm stated as facts the most preposterous hallucinations, and smiles were broad while college veal showed its appreciation in squeaks and irrepressible guffaws, to be frowned upon by their superiors, who were making the most outrageous grimaces themselves. But Sheldon was blind, as were also the large number of sympathizers present, who listened eagerly and believed every word he uttered and cheered him loudly when he resumed his seat. Sheldon proved the star attraction among the large assemblage of wise men.

My three friends became known throughout the press as "the three renowned," and the expedition to the North Pole was written up learnedly, ending with the statement, the start would be made early in the spring; whereupon a wag, itching for a thrashing, suggested we take the Relief Party along, as there was nothing like having things convenient. My own name invariably ended all articles where apparently it had been roped in as an afterthought, and I discovered I belonged to the expedition. Here indeed was an idea, but I refused to entertain it. I was open for much enterprise, but the North Pole was beyond my latitude.