Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/164

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The Centaurians

is fleeting satisfaction and everlasting solitary despair."

Centauri's eyes actually twinkled, but Saunders was looking ugly. Like most mild men he was stubborn and began reply in his usual deliberate, argumentative manner.

"I regret I cannot agree with your views concerning this monstrosity of the heavens," he informed the great Centauri. "As I understand you, your knowledge of the oblong radiance is as limited as mine, yet you state positively, after declaring it of illusive distance, that it is a globe in the lunar state, a world in decline. This is most perplexing, but perhaps after further investigations I will agree with you. At present permit me to state the result of my very thorough calculations. This peculiar stellar formation I believe to be a new world developing and have named it the planet Virgillius. Its revolution through space is similar to Earth. Both planets present a lunar appearance to the other, and each globe casts a semi-eclipse over the other; hence, the planet Virgillius is invisible to astronomers of my country.

"The fetid mists, etc., enveloping only our portion of the globe is, you will pardon me, altogether visionary. Encircling Earth is the nebulous radiance visibly enveloping the whole planetary system. Within this nebulous is temperature, the chart of the elements divided into five zones. Centauri in her zones is subject to the same atmospheric influences that envelops our continent. Your inability to cross the polar circle is not due to contagious