Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/84

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The Centaurians

the parting, which gradually thickened into a fine skin and the shriveled leaf became soft and pulpy again with nothing but a faint line to show where the wound had been. Something about the plant nauseated me and I hastily returned to the car to find my three friends in a noisy discussion about it. Saxe. declared it was flesh, not vegetable. Saunders was positive it was a mineral product, and Sheldon frankly told them both they were asses; the plant was vegetable, how could it be anything else?

I never joined in their discussions, it was impossible to convince them of anything. They generally yelled like mad for a few minutes, then each, sure of his superior knowledge of all things, would gradually simmer down and draw out of the argument. And as usual Saxe. rose with that familiar know-it-all-air, and started the Propellier going. Sheldon and Saunders continued the debate for hours, in fact, till the plants became so thick and common Sheldon called time.

We seemed to be passing through a forest of brown rubber trees, some attaining a growth of ten feet, whose branches bruised against the car windows, staining them with their foul smelling fluid. The snow was thinning to slush and we jolted fearfully over the rocky, uneven road, but not till we had passed the forest of unearthly plants would Saxe. halt to remove the runners and fit the wheels. When we emerged from the nightmare thicket a rocky territory stretched wide before us, snow and ice traveling were at an end; our course