Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/73

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The Centaurians

flowing black waters underneath. At the first vibration Saxe. quickly shut off the current, then with considerable difficulty backed the Propellier from her perilous position. We had plunged into a parting or lane, fifteen feet wide and three miles long, concealed by new snow that had iced on the surface, and were obliged to make a wide detour.

Saunders reported a faint aurora borealis in the northeast.

It turned out to be the moon's rays piercing a mackerel-sky. It was a beautiful sight. White shining clouds with antlers branching in long, waving ribbons crimped like blond, which scintillated in diffused patches on the horizon. As we watched the moon sailed high, dimming and scattering the shimmering radiance.

We had the laugh on Saunders, who stubbornly insisted the bright light was a faint aurora. As the heavens are one continual phenomenon, always inspiring mortal with awe, and considering that Saunders knew more of the heavens than any of us, I had a secret belief he might possibly be correct, particularly as we witnessed this phenomenon time after time when there was no moon. The same shining, white clouds, with rippling antlers parting in flaming rays, which stretched across the sky in a broad, throbbing arch, varying in tints of a yellowish, bluish, milky white; all cold, chilly colors, but beautiful.

Saxe. became bold over the successful traveling of his machine, and announced it his belief that we would reach the Pole in a month. But difficul-