Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/59

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The Centaurians

good move. You'll find more confined within the boundary of Earth than in your wildest dreams of paradise. Now, tell me—why have you so suddenly decided to join the expedition?"

He looked at me keenly and I felt my face burning hot but remained mute. Saxe. dropped my hand. "Keep it to yourself," he said. "I dare say it's a very good reason; it ought to be, you're so jealous of it, and I'll learn all about it in good time. Don't mention our conversation to Saunders, or Sheldon; as intimate as we are the subject has never gone beyond the Pole. We all actually believe we're greatly fooling the other, but Saunders will travel till he beholds his star; Sheldon will never halt till he discovers his phenomenal body of water; and I, I have worked for years and spent my last cent that ultimately I can be the discoverer of the other side of the globe. And you, Virgillius, you are going because you—er—have nothing else to do?"

I laughed and took up my hat to depart. How the devil could I tell the old sport I was going to the North Pole, in search of—er—a woman. I, who fancied myself above the ordinary, a side light to gleam and flash fitfully, never with the steady glow of genius, found myself in the category of every-day, commonplace men, whose careers always end with a woman, as I now dared hope mine would.


The day finally arrived when we were to steam away upon our long, venturesome voyage. I was