Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/171

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The Centaurians

the loveliest bay I ever saw whose deep-blue, glassy waters reflected elongated, fantastic shadows of the great white city on the coast gleaming phantom-like through a shroud of heavy, azure mist. Borne before the mild breeze, we fluttered to the heart of this fair city, hovering an instant in the high, intense heat, then the ship slanted and circled downward.

Beneath was the reality of a dream-vision. A fairy palace glinted in the sunlight with soft, rainbow tints, surrounded with gorgeous gardens sheltered from the wilting heat by giant palms, and cooled, refreshed by swift, ribboned streams, and slumberous pools upon whose surface floated strange, heavy-scented blossoms.

The vessel shifted far to the rear of the irradiating palace toward the outskirts of the wondrous gardens, where a steel trestle reared high, supporting a great, oblong object, which slowly parted wide. The ship sank without a jar, gently settling, the sails folded close while the huge metal shell gradually closed together. The flying ship Centur had reached port.

Leisurely we strolled through the heavenly gardens, lingering in admiration of the witching picturesqueness. We were told that exquisite Centur was the divine city of Centauri—ahem! and that we were the guests of Alpha Centauri, who would receive us some time after sunset; the exciting interval, we understood, was to be devoted to rest. The gentleman graciously gave us further information concerning the greatness and exclusiveness of our