Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/66

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

The Centaurians

He'd done his best to persuade us to give up our polar trip—the absurdity of the effort was too profound for laughter. Saxe. took the captain aside and eased the troublesome conscience, convincing the poor gentleman, as he had everybody else, of the perfect efficiency of his invention. He invited him to examine the instrument which was rapidly nearing completion, and patiently explained each portion of the machinery. Norris became very interested and returned to his ship highly enthused over the Propellier. We had pitched camp in the midst of a little Esquimaux village, the chief told Saxe., who became very friendly with the tribe, being able to speak a few words of their language, that they settled here every season for the whaling and fishing. They pryed around a good deal and interestedly watched us working upon the Propellier. They seemed to regard us with suspicion, but never failed to bring daily tokens of their esteem in the way of fresh fish and oil. Saxe. repaid their gifts with long strings of bright colored beads, which presumably he packed along for that purpose. Captain Norris and his men were on land most of the time assisting us, and created considerable jollity. One or two of the crew started flirtations with several Esquimaux women, rousing the ire of the men, who proceeded to chastise their women. I had not noticed the facial characteristics of the Esquimaux sufficiently to distinguish the sexes, they all looked alike, and when I saw them quarreling and fighting I thought the whole settlement had gone on the warpath, possibly over Saxe.'s beads, and we were in