Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/76

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The Centaurians

pipes extending throughout the cars, we would have been compelled to turn back.; nothing human could live in such temperature. Gradually we dashed free of the freshet bound region and traveled swiftly over a smooth, wide plain without rut or ripple, huge floes of ice packed and screwed together till seemingly one vast floe extended over the whole of this drear unknown continent, and always the same distance away was the blue mystic range of mountains. I wondered if we would ever reach them.

We were making splendid time, gaining on that lost in the mountainous and lake district, yet Saxe. appeared troubled.

"I fear a storm," he told me. "We cannot escape them now, we are nearing the summit."

That night a strange light illuminated the sky.

"An aurora!" shouted Saunders.

Undoubtedly it was, but the beauties of the aurora had paled upon us, yet this night the flaming, brilliant tinted sky held our attention. Awe-inspiring was the vast arch of fire, crown formed, spiked with quivering streamers. The fiery crown varied not in shade, but seemed to burn with deeper intensity as a dull, ominous red clouded some of its brightness. The quivering streamers oscillated with wonderful tints, making each seem as though studded with rare gems. The blood-red ruby glowed upon us, then paled to the amethyst's heliotrope, which faded before the rush of emerald, flooding the sky, and the baleful topaz streaked the delicate green as the flaming arch, edged with the penetrating turquoise, quivered and vibrated with