Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/167

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The Centaurians

"A false sentiment," he replied. "Centauri is above and beyond you."

"My God!" I gasped, yet quick as a flash replied: "Centauri is a woman!"

His eyes burned into mine. "You are courageous," he whispered, then abruptly, yet without offence, shut the door almost in my face.

Outside, alone upon a misty deck, we stared blankly at each other; then Sheldon aired a grievance.

"We've permitted ourselves to be mauled about by this, that, and the other; to be taken here, there, anywhere, willy-nilly; we've almost lost our identity," he grumbled. "It is well we managed some spunk before 'The Centauri' who, by the way, is a shrewd old cuss, and gained power through the exaggerated estimate of the people—like many on our side. But he's a harmless old chap, on the decade. Look sharp about the girl, Sally. He warned you of that himself. She's a tartar, and as homely as sin—there's a great disappointment sure. Squelch the flame, think of gain; domineering selfishness is a powerful magnet."

"Notice how he mentioned the planet Virgillius?" squeaked Saunders. "Why, for all his boasted knowledge he knows little more of the planet than I do."

"And," sputtered Sheldon, "he claimed the great body of fresh water for the Centaurians, called it 'Tegao,' or something——."

"Good heavens, boys!" murmured Saxe., "have