Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/161

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The Centaurians

cushioned in delicate pink, others molded in forms of twisted, entwined reptiles, cushioned in chameleon green; the effect rather created chills. There were couches, divans, heaped high with soft, downy head-rests, the prevailing color white; and over the whole atmosphere pervaded a sweet, almost nauseating odor. Centauri ended the silence addressing Saxe., who in spite of his wonderful self-control, appeared flurried.

"Your invention is remarkable, considering the era in which you live, but superior to your inventive genius was the fabulous idea you treasured that beyond the pivot another world existed. Your forceful nature, powerful intellect, energy, labored to attain ambition. Such men always succeed." Saxe. bowed. "I have thoroughly examined your car," Centauri continued; "it belongs to the people and will be placed in the museum at Centur. The government will present you with an engine perfected with the improvements of centuries, yet you will easily recognize your own machine. A great error was made in the use of steel; had your instrument been molded in crystal, explosion would have been impossible, and you would have discovered us earlier and avoided many hardships."

Saxe. saluted low and sweeping, but was mute. Centauri gazed steadily at him several seconds, then as though satisfied, turned his attention to Sheldon, who became a lively pink.

"The great, fresh water ocean was discovered centuries ago. Your theory concerning the earth's fresh water supply is erroneous."