Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/177

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The Centaurians

Imperiously she bade me follow her. We were alone, my three friends having wisely strolled away. She led to the alcoved greenery, heavy with the sweet, powerful odor of wonderful exotic plants.

Silently we wandered beneath tall palms and trees of thick foliage, whose branches housed gorgeously plumed, shrill songsters.

I plucked a deep crimson flower and attempted to place it in her hair. She stood quite still, but the task was beyond me. In exasperation I crushed the blossom, then stooping, suddenly pressed a kiss upon the lovely shoulder. She turned sharply.

"What's the difference!" I cried passionately. "With my eyes I kiss you constantly!"

"Pretty boy," she murmured musingly. "I have seen you before. I do not remember where."

I cursed my lack of control as she led me into the glare of brilliant lights again and bade me be seated at a small table in full view of the fantastically garbed banqueters.

Sheldon was seated between two beautiful women, and all in his vicinity were convulsed with laughter. He was proving himself a wit even among these advanced people. Saunders was explaining something of vast importance. I could almost hear his nasal, bilious tones; and dear old Saxe. had the seat of honor. He had cleared a space in front of him, and with his forefinger was drawing marvelous circles and triangles upon the satiny damask, his every movement watched closely by eager, enthusiastic admirers.

A brilliant scene, this banquet hall, with its crys-