Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/91

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The Centaurians

ting ice wind chilled us to the heart and we huddled together with a distinct desire to avoid moving. "We'll petrify if we remain stationary," warned Saunders, "keep moving. But it's not as frigid as it should be at this altitude. It's the atmosphere and earth——"

Saxe. grunted and rushed ahead; we quickly followed, glad of anything to squelch Saunders, who once started upon his hobby was good for days. His language was eloquent, his subject always learned and instructive, and in a nice, warm room, we could have all gone comfortably to sleep, but in an atmosphere of ice, with the Pole almost in sight.… We reached the perilous bend in the road, it was engulfed in deep, black shadows, cast by cliffs above, but farther on re-appeared, stretching along the level for miles and miles, curving, undulating, like a gigantic serpent, and gleaming like silver in the strange light, neither night nor day.

"It was once the bed of a river," remarked Sheldon, who, like Saunders, was daft on his hobby.

"Nonsense!" retorted Saxe., "it's the main artery of a burnt-out volcano."

"Volcano in the frigid zone!" laughed Sheldon.

We returned to the Propellier, tired out and panting heavily, the exertion made us perspire freely after a few seconds' rest. Saxe. was anxious to push forward at once. We voted consent. He flared the search-light upon the road and the Propellier cautiously started down the incline. Up hill and down into deep, black hollows, we sped like the