Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/62

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The Centaurians

and we, speeding swiftly, alone, between water and sky toward the goal Saxe. had worked a lifetime for. He became very chummy with the captain, who was the most profane man I ever ran across.

Sheldon and Saunders found their charts and quarrels so interesting, I was left entirely to myself, though ennui was killed in vain dreams of an image, an impossibility, thrilling and rousing dormant sensibilities I did not believe myself possessed of. I idled away hours, becoming absolutely useless, and Saxe. dispensing with my services, ordered me from the box he had converted into a laboratory.

At his expressed wish we anchored at several northern ports, and were usually received by a committee of speech-making asses, who forced banquets, balls and receptions upon us. At one port two of the crew deserted and delayed us four days; then when all was in readiness for departure, Saxe., to our astonishment, was missing. We appealed to the captain, who declared, if necessary, he would wait six months for Saxlehner, who he was confident, however, would be along soon. Sheldon confidentially told me he believed Saxe. had deserted, while Saunders fretfully hoped the expedition wasn't going to end here. Saxe.'s absence was beginning to worry us, when towards the close of the following day he put in an appearance, very tired but exultant, and that night several hundred cans of two gallons each containing some mysterious fluid was shipped aboard. This explained Saxe.'s absence, and he explained the mysterious