Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/159

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The Centaurians



We were awakened at daybreak, all seemed excitement and bustle, and with little ceremony we were served in our room with a dainty breakfast of delicately browned fish, fruit, and tea brewed from freshly gathered leaves. Then they conducted us to the garden where Tolna and the Governor waited. Both gentlemen greeted us with many polite inquiries concerning our rest, then impressively informed us that during the night "The Centauri" had arrived, impatient to meet the four illustrious explorers, the brave men who dared the horrors of the north for the benefit of science.

"You will be his guests," Tolna informed us; "and in his superb ship return with him to Centur."

We bowed deeply, while the young gentleman beckoned to a man who was leading a sextette of prancing horses, three abreast, harnessed to a queer vehicle, a cross between a chariot and hotel bus. The Governor entered, we followed with Tolna, who hurried forward and caught the reins. The horses arched and high-stepped a bit to show their mettle, then dashed into a gallop and clattered noisily through the quiet streets, sombre with the silence of dawn. Windows were raised, touseled heads, sleepy faces, leaned far out to see and cheer us, but the road was clear, no swaying, pushing mob. Our departure was altogether unexpected.

We reached the sheds as full day flooded the