Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/165

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The Centaurians

vapors; the icy petrification, intangible, mystic calm of the unknown regions rouses a horrible, freezing fear, which causes fatal physical dread—you perish. Centauri, in frigid panic, eternally retreats, while wandering, enterprising unenlightenment discovers. But the Centaurians, with their extensive knowledge, vast researches and keen perception, realized the existence of far, unknown countries, populous, progressive. We of our land, ah! how widely different! Perception is still in the nebulous state, and centuries will elapse before tender intellect is sufficiently sinewy to grapple with the astounding problem that our own little hemisphere does not embrace the universe."

Saunders gravely bowed to the amazed and delighted old gentleman, whose eyes now snapped with merriment. We four certainly made a huge, square joke, but Saunders was game and Centauri smiled very kindly upon him.

"Later we shall have another discussion," he told him. "Now you are under a disadvantage. Possibly you will devote months, years, in extensive observation and limitless calculation—it will be interesting to hear all the extravagant new ideas you will form concerning the—er—planet Virgillius. That's what the Centaurians have been doing for ages—are still doing—and will continue to do forever. Form theories, theories always, never more. Baffled, they study this spectral lunar disc, enveloped in a halo of mystery that none can penetrate, but I, I who have solved intricate problems of the Known, and delved daringly into the Un-