Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 587 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.

I had never before parted even from Eunane with any feeling of regret; but on this occasion an impulse I could not account for, but have ever since been glad to remember, made me turn at the last moment and add to Eveena’s earnest embrace a few words of affection and confidence, which evidently cheered and encouraged her deputy.  The car that awaited us was of the light tubular construction common here, formed of the silvery metal zorinta.  About eighteen feet in length and half that breadth, it was divided into two compartments; each, with the aid of canopy and curtains, forming at will a closed tent, and securing almost as much privacy as an Arab family enjoys, or opening to the sky.  In that with which the sails and machinery were connected were Davilo and two of his attendants.  The other had been carefully lined and covered with furs and wrappings, indicating an attention to my companion which indeed is rarely shown to women by their own lords, and which none but the daughter of Esmo would have received even among the brethren of the Order.  Ere we departed I had arranged her cushions and wrapped her closely in the warmest coverings; and flinging over her at last the kargynda skin received from the Campta, I bade her sleep if possible during our aerial voyage.  There was need to provide as carefully as possible for her comfort.  The balloon shot up at once above the evening mists to a height at which the cold was intense, but at which our voyage could be guided by the stars, invisible from below, and at which we escaped the more dangerously chilling damp.  The wind that blew right in our teeth, caused by no atmospheric current but by our own rapid passage, would in a few moments have frozen my face, perhaps fatally, had not thick skins been arranged to screen us.  Even through these it blew with intense severity, and I was glad indeed to cover myself from head to foot and lie down beside Eveena.  Her hand as she laid it on mine was painfully cold; but the shivering I could hardly suppress made her anxious to part in my favour with some at least of the many coverings that could hardly screen herself from the searching blast.  Not at the greatest height I reached among the Himalayas, nor on the Steppes of Tartary, had I experienced a cold severer than this.  The Sun had just turned westward when we reached the port at which we were to embark.  Despite the cold, Eveena had slept during the latter part of our voyage, and was still sleeping when I placed her on the cushions in our cabin.  The sudden and most welcome change from bitter cold to comfortable warmth awakened her, as it at last allowed me to sleep.  Our journey was continued below the surface at a rate of more than twelve hundred miles in the day, a speed which made observation through the thick but perfectly transparent side windows of our cabin impossible.  I was indisposed for meditation, which could have been directed to no other subject than the mysterious purpose of our journey, and had not provided myself with books.  But in Eveena’s company it was impossible that the time should pass slowly or wearily.

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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