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A Honeymoon in Space by George Chetwynd Griffith

Speaking for the first time since the Astronef had landed


Without

the slightest sign of fear, but with very evident astonishment in their round golden-yellow eyes, they came walking close up to the sides of the _Astronef_. Some of them stroked her smooth, shining sides with their little hands, which Zaidie now found had only three fingers and a thumb. Many ages before they might have been birds' claws, but now they were soft and pink and plump, utterly strange to manual work as it is understood upon Earth.

"Just fancy getting Maxim guns ready to shoot those delightful things," said Zaidie, almost indignantly, as she went towards the doorway from which the gangway ladder ran down to the soft, mossy turf. "Why, not one of them has got a weapon of any sort; and just listen," she went on, stopping in the opening of the doorway, "have you ever heard music like that on Earth? I haven't. I suppose it's the way they talk. I'd give a good deal to be able to understand them. But still, it's very lovely, isn't it?"

"Ay, like the voices of syrens," said Murgatroyd, speaking for the first time since the _Astronef_ had landed; for this big, grizzled, taciturn Yorkshireman, who looked upon the whole cruise through Space as a mad and almost impious adventure, which nothing but his hereditary loyalty to his master's name and family could have persuaded him to share in, had grown more and more silent as the millions of miles between the _Astronef_ and his native Yorkshire village had multiplied

day by day.

"Syrens--and why not, Andrew?" laughed Redgrave. "At any rate, I don't think they look likely to lure us and the _Astronef_ to destruction." Then he went on: "Yes, Zaidie, I never heard anything like that before. Unearthly, of course it is, but then we're not on Earth. Now, Zaidie, they seem to talk in song-language. You did pretty well on Mars with your American, suppose we go out and show them that you can speak the song-language, too."

"What do you mean?" she said; "sing them something?"

"Yes," he replied; "they'll try to talk to you in song, and you won't be able to understand them; at least, not as far as words and sentences go. But music is the universal language on Earth, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be the same through the Solar System. Come along, tune up, little woman!"

They went together down the gangway stairs, he dressed in an ordinary suit of grey, English tweed, with a golf cap on the back of his head, and she in the last and daintiest of the costumes which the art of Paris and London and New York had produced before the _Astronef_ soared up from far-off Washington.

The moment that she set foot on the golden-yellow sward she was surrounded by a swarm of the winged, and yet strangely human creatures. Those nearest to her came and touched her hands and face, and stroked the folds of her dress. Others looked into her violet-blue eyes, and others put out their queer little hands and stroked her hair.


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