Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/60

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The Centaurians

the last to board the little whaling vessel. Saxe., Sheldon, and Saunders were on deck busily occupied. Saxe. had an elderly female clinging and sobbing upon his shoulder, accompanied by two pretty girls with red eyes and sniffles. Saunders was standing apart, holding tightly the hand of a young man who appeared very serious, and talked very rapidly, while Saunders listened with that aggravating air—talk-away-young-man-if-it-makes-you-feel-better-but-it's-useless. The young man was Saunders, Jr. Sheldon, obvious to everything, was up in a corner embracing a portly dame, who wept copiously. Portly dame unknown and nobody's business. I became as blind as a bat, and was hailed by Middleton & Co., who nabbed me after a red-hot chase and started to argue. Never was such eloquence heard outside the bar. The gentlemen had suddenly become convinced I was deceiving them, and their suspicions and fears had to be quieted. I felt ashamed of myself, but could not give up the expedition. My brain throbbed with the memory of the blazing vision, and my three lawyers put aside their dignity and trotted to keep up with me as I paced the deck with amorous strides. I hurried the trio to my cabin, opened several bottles, and out-argued them, till finally, Middleton, sighing heavily, wrung my hand in parting.

"Keep your word, my boy," he warned.

"And what do you expect me to do?" I asked.

"Oh, never mind," he replied, "only see that you return."