Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/10

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The Centaurians

drone, though master of this rural, enchanting, warm, lazy scene, which, like a veil, spread over the vast area of my possessions.

Powerfully wealthy, I gloat in enjoyment and exist merely to squander the fabulous riches inherited from ancestors who worshipped at the shrine of Accumulation, that I, the culminating period, should revel in Profligacy. Value has no significance and to me there is naught under the blue heavens that is priceless, except perhaps—a new experience. I came from a queer clan, we could date our premier back to the twelfth century; a Florentine dealer in precious stones, whose interesting history filled one of the documents handed to me when I reached the age of supposed discretion. Originality was our motto. All were gifted with keenness and enterprise, though dotted periodically with mania—just a dash, you understand, to aid personality and create distinction. Avarice was strongly developed, dulling fear forcing us to brave many perils, and we scorned the warning contained in the great chest of documents which even I failed to unseal. We had survived many disasters and twice narrowly escaped oblivion. We possessed a doubtful legend and closely guarded a buried tomb of foulness, yet with all our cunning two fools nearly snuffed the name out of existence during the fifteenth, and again at the close of the seventeenth century.

My thoughts often dwelt upon these afflicted kinsmen; both had been mad, of course, their chameleon brains merely reflected the brilliant glints