Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/50

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

The Centaurians

it seemed to me nothing less than suicide, yet Saxe. was thoroughbred in his work and his confidence exhilarating. From the start I had been closely associated with the three famous scientists, and eventually it became noised about that Salucci, the millionaire, was to head the expedition. As I neither affirmed nor denied the report my indecision caused the three "sharks" to storm the citadel in the suburbs.

Saxe. had a wordy war with Middleton & Co., but they capitulated before his lengthy explanations and departed satisfied, enthusiastic, privately informing me the Professor was a wonderful man and that it was preposterous that he could fail; and for the first time in my life I was flinging my money away sensibly. I notified them of my intention to escort the expedition north to a certain point, then return with the ship. My unusual lack of enthusiasm allayed their suspicions and convinced them I was meditating some new enterprise. Unknowingly I deceived the old gentlemen, my sudden reticence was to avoid making positive promises. I wished to be untrammeled in case enthusiasm forced me at the last moment to cast my luck with Saxe., but I doubted if any sensation could inveigle me into such a rash proposition as that Saxe., Sheldon, and Saunders were contemplating, but I remained silent.

About two weeks before the date of departure Saxe., satisfied with the outlook, and but a few minor details to attend to, ordered an easing up of labor and we made the astonishing discovery we