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A Voyage to Arcturus

Krag appeared on the threshold of the door, bearing in his hand a feebly glimmering
lantern. A hat was on his head, and he looked stern and forbidding. After scrutinising the
two friends for a moment or so, he strode into the room and thrust the lantern on the
table. Its light hardly served to illuminate the walls.
"You have got here, then, Maskull?"
"So it seems - but I shan't thank you for your hospitality, for it has been conspicuous by
its absence."
Krag ignored the remark. "Are you ready to start?"
"By all means - when you are. It is not. so entertaining here."
Krag surveyed him critically. "I heard you stumbling about in the tower. You couldn't get
up, it seems."
"It looks like an obstacle, for Nightspore informs me that the start takes place from the
"But your other doubts are all removed?"
"So far, Krag, that I now possess an open mind. I am quite willing to see what you can
"Nothing more is asked.... But this tower business. You know that until you are able to
climb to the top you are unfit to stand the gravitation of Tormance?"
"Then I repeat, it's an awkward obstacle, for I certainly can't get up."
Krag hunted about in his pockets, and at length produced a clasp knife.
"Remove you coat, and roll up your shirt sleeve," he directed.
"Do you propose to make an incision with that?"
"Yes, and don't start difficulties, because the effect is certain, but you can't possibly
understand it beforehand."
"Still, a cut with a pocket-knife - " began Maskull, laughing.
"It will answer, Maskull," interrupted Nightspore.
"Then bare your arm too, you aristocrat of the universe," said Krag. "Let us see what your
blood is made of."