Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/74

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The Centaurians

ties commenced when we reached 78 degrees north latitude, progress became slow and we were obliged to travel inland to avoid the high winds which threw the snow into insurmountable mounds, forming alley-ways and embankments, and all the time from the north came that ominous warning boom as the ice packed and screwed together. "The Inevitable," as Saxe. called it, and that which has confronted all polar explorers over the Greenland route, happened at 79 degrees.

Further travel was blocked by a chain of small ice hills, so closely packed together they formed a wall, seemingly an impenetrable blockade, extending as far as the sight reached. For several weeks we traveled in an easterly direction, then dared the jagged opening in the shifting chain, which revealed a veritable world of peaks, at sight of which Sheldon blurted out:

"It can't be done, Saxe., old boy!"

But the Propellier was invented to crush all obstacles, and Saxe. grimly, cautiously steered through the icy gate. He found it very difficult to operate the engine in this terrible mountainous district. We were upon the frozen surface of the sea, whose waves seemingly had iced as they formed into the swell. We realized danger, but there was no turning back; through extreme caution we were spared disaster. Saxe. never left his post in the little engine car, he refused aid, we were not expert enough for the situation.

Weeks were consumed in passing over this hilly waste, but hundreds of miles were traversed, then