Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/141

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The Centaurians

our own. We wondered what these new people were like, and gravely pondered between conflicting thoughts of hope and fear.

Sheldon believed his great body of fresh water a discovered fact. The Centaurians would escort him to view these marvelous waters.

Saunders, jubilant, chuckled with enthusiasm as he speculated upon the vast improvements accomplished in six hundred years upon astronomical instruments, which he expected placed at his disposal for a thorough analytic inspection of the planet Virgillius, and he confidentially informed me it was his intention to join the next expedition to the moon. Saxe. thought of the lost Propellier, and figured on the powerful proportions it must have attained in so many centuries of improvement. As for myself, I grew wild, restless with expectation. I thought of the wraith, devil, woman, what you will, that had decoyed me to this world. The luring, smiling beauty frenzied me. Centauri, Centauri, was the name my heart gave her.

Swiftly we reached the plains, plunging into brilliant illumination cast by great search-lights in the towers of a number of—ships!

We pressed forward in amazement.

"Powers above, they're ships!" Sheldon cried.

"Ferry-boats!" I gasped.

And the decks were crowded. The boats presented a gala appearance, streamers and banners flying, the upper decks shaded with gay-colored awnings. We could easily see into the brilliantly-lighted salons, and wondered at the sparkling in-