Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/87

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The Centaurians

sat on their haunches and regarded us with gratitude—it was gratitude—purely an animal trait.

Sheldon forgot prudence and leaned far out of the window, calling: "Poor fellow!" and "Good dog!" With the fish secure in their teeth they jumped about delighted, wagged their bushy tails, and trotted off contentedly towards the south.

"They were desperate with hunger," I remarked.

"They were not," Saxe. snapped, "they looked well fed, were fat. They feed upon those plants we've just passed, which are flesh, not vegetable. If those dogs, or whatever they are, had been hungry they would have devoured the fish at once."

"If they were not hungry why did they come after us so fiercely?" I asked.

"In our country," Saxe. responded, "we produce every product under the sun, yet we are continually importing foreign stuffs."

This ended the discussion. When he thought it prudent, Saxe. ventured out to finish his interrupted inspection of our work and travel was not resumed till he was thoroughly satisfied.

"Hope we don't run across any more queer animals," he remarked to nobody in particular.

"We won't," Saunders replied, "we are too far up to discover anything but petrification and the Pole."

"We are traveling upon lava beds," Saxe. informed us, "and I believe we are in the pit of a huge crater—what misfortune if it should come to sudden eruption!"