Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.
England, or any other maritime Power on Earth.  I consented readily that, except on the rare occasions when the heavens were visible, the short night, from the fall of the evening to the dissipation of the morning mists, should he passed under water.  I have said that gales are comparatively rare and the tides insignificant; but the narrow and exceedingly long channels of the Martial seas, with the influence of a Solar movement from north to south more extensive though slower than that which takes place between our Winter and Summer Solstices, produce currents, atmospheric and oceanic, and sudden squalls that often give rise to that worst of all disturbances of the surface, known as a “chopping sea.”  When we crossed the tropic and came fairly into the channel separating the western coast of the continent on which the Astronaut had landed from the eastern seabord of that upon whose southern coast I was presently to disembark, this disturbance was even worse than, except on peculiarly disagreeable occasions, in the Straits of Dover.  After enduring this for two or three hours, I observed that Eveena had stolen from her seat beside me on the deck.  Since we left Askinta her spirits had been unusually variable.  She had been sometimes lively and almost excitable; more generally quiet, depressed, and silent even beyond her wont.  Still, her manner and bearing were always so equable, gentle, and docile that, accustomed to the caprices of the sex on Earth, I had hardly noticed the change.  I thought, however, that she was to-day nervous and somewhat pale; and as she did not return, after permitting the pilot to seek a calmer stratum at some five fathoms depth, I followed Eveena into our cabin or chamber.  Standing with her back to the entrance and with a goblet to her lips, she did not hear me till I had approached within arm’s length.  She then started violently, so agitated that the colour faded at once from her countenance, leaving it white as in a swoon, then as suddenly returning, flushed her neck and face, from the emerald shoulder clasps to the silver snood, with a pink deeper than that of her robe.

“I am very sorry I startled you,” I said.  “You are certainly ill, or you would not be so easily upset.”

I laid my hand as I spoke on her soft tresses, but she withdrew from the touch, sinking down among the cushions.  Leaving her to recover her composure, I took up the half-empty cup she had dropped on the central table.  Thirsty myself, I had almost drained without tasting it, when a little half-stifled cry of dismay checked me.  The moment I removed the cup from my mouth I perceived its flavour—­the unmistakable taste of the dravadone ("courage cup"), so disagreeable to us both, which we had shared on our bridal evening.  Wetting with one drop the test-stone attached to my watch-chain, it presented the local discoloration indicating the narcotic poison which is the chief ingredient of this compound.

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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