Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/14

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The Centaurians

Young and fond of pleasure, I ignored most of his advice, yet his words vividly impressed me, and in after years, profiting by his counsel, I became known as a man of many ideas, a trifle eccentric, and notoriously willing to fling away a fortune for a new experience. Saxlehner and I became great friends, yet with the ending of my college days we drifted apart. I plunged into the social gayety that awaits all rich young men, and learned more in one month of idleness than in all the years passed at college. I became wild, fast, yet deceived all with assumed unsophisticatedness and was a great trial to Middleton & Co., who kept a sharp lookout for squalls, remonstrating and warning me of disasters they could not steer me out of. Maliciously I parried with them, while debauchery fostered ennui and the dormant characteristics of my people roused to activity impregnating my system with the pessimist's germ. Much encountered subtlety and unscrupulousness ceased causing anxiety. I developed an impenetrable armor of caution and sought diversion in heartless analysis—the world is money-mad. Lovelessness, the curse of my people, was upon me. It caused no unhappiness, we had all lived through it, but I alone discovered and realized—it developed with mature reason, we were not born with it. Vaguely I dreamed of congeniality and calm affection but craved neither, and anything deeper seemed annoying. I was incapable of passion, consequently could not inspire it. Iron against all sensations, my callousness astounded even me. I scorned the temptations other men embraced. Con-