Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/11

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The Centaurians

of their rare collection of gems. One coveted the green light flaring in the crown of Isis, and early mastered the knowledge that all men perfect when they are too old to profit by it—anticipation is the nectar of realization. He was radiant in longing for the mystic green he could never possess, and existed in a daring dreamland that all men desire but never contemplate. His marvelous collection of emeralds formed the foundation of our almost fabulous wealth. It was a similar malady that afflicted the later kinsman, who closed his career with a rabidness that slanted a muddy shade consuming centuries of gigantic endeavor to clear. His madness lacked reverence, but keenness, determination proved talent had he not been abnormal. He conceived a frenzied desire to possess a famous jewel with a rich setting of superstition and priceless value. The cutting fascinated him, he jeered at warnings and made offers of purchase with a persistency equal his mania; when realizing the wealth of the world contained not the value of the stone he called it fate and stole the gem. Years later he was found murdered, horribly mutilated. Aware of the fate destined for him, he reasoned a life forfeited justly covered all debts—the stone was our property. He feared to trust it out of his keeping, however, and when the final, awful moment arrived, his insane cunning outwitted the assassins—he swallowed the stone. I have it sunk in a broad band of gold.

After the exploit of this fanatic we scattered over the world, and though our name suffered tor-