Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/118

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The Centaurians

"Six hundred years behind the times, are we? I'll wager he never tasted coffee."

Saxe. declared the Latin we spoke was a mutilation of the language, that this "savage" had mastered the Latin of perfection. And the "savage" proceeded to teach us this perfect language and made rapid strides into the difficulties of our mutilation. He traveled with us nearly three weeks and was good company, hilarious, but thoroughly vicious and unprincipled. He sang ribald songs that I wonder at my daring in mentioning them, and his sentiments towards the fair sex betrayed the savage. I flushed at the way he alluded to the ladies; he considered them without soul or value, and frankly told us when he and his people renounced all that was delightful then civilization would welcome them. "To efface the savage condition," the gentleman informed us, "will take centuries; till then—bah!"

Evidently the Potolilis did not desire civilization.

Potolili had an extremely cultivated palate and delighted in preparing and introducing many peculiar dishes at our meals. An epicure he may have been, but we certainly were far his superiors when it came to cooking and politely refused to partake of any of his messes.

In return he rated our food as abominable, but Sheldon's coffee made him blink. In compliment we made strenuous overtures to his wine, which had the appearance of water and a bouquet divine. It put fire in our veins, courage in our hearts, and we existed in the confidence that only the mighty