Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/68

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The Centaurians

smooth as oil, and the suddenness of the start caused the meddlesome sailor to fall—hard.

We literally flew, running at a rate of speed I did not believe the Propellier could ever reach, and as yet the lever nob had traveled but one-half its notched road, and Saxe. would test the full length. His eyes gleamed, and his usually ruddy face became pallid and pinched. He bent in a listening attitude and slowly pressed the lever to its last notch; the Propellier had reached the speed limit. The runners plowed the snow deeply, which flew up, covering the windows; we seemed to be traveling in the air; I grew dizzy with the marvelous velocity. Our captain seemed uneasy and wished to remonstrate with Saxe. to lessen speed, but Saunders pushed him aside in time. It was useless to speak with him now, Saxe. would not even hear; heart, soul, his very life, was bound up in his invention. Should the Propellier fail now that it had reached perfection, his heart would break or he would lose his reason. I went and stood beside him, the perspiration was streaming down his pale face, his tense attitude must have been painful; in very pity I was drawn to him. He was peering through the round magnifying window which brought the distant scenery to closer view, revealing the ruggedness of the snow plains. Suddenly the Propellier swerved, then with a wide, graceful turn made at full speed for camp. Saxe. rose to his full height, the color returned to his face and he heaved a deep sigh of relief, then saluted us.

"Gentlemen," he said, "my invention is success-