Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/186

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The Centaurians

beauties of the great planet Virgillius to these people who knew more about the star than he did. I grew irritable, bored, and wrathily wondered if he, too, had arranged that we be taken somewhere on the morrow. Covertly I watched my inamorata, passive, calm of face, taller, darker, more beautiful than any woman in Centauri. Dare I approach such chilling loftiness? Yes; and subdue, overpower with the potency of my own passion.

Alpha Centauri shall be mine! We were born for each other—just a sweet woman of this earth, nothing more; else could she create desire? Boldly I forced my way to her side, determined to sweep away the tantalizing indifference. I would command her thoughts, then—— Ah, how irrational are dreams! Before her calm, expressionless regard my passion quelled. She was kind; yes, a dead kindness, as with a few words and slight inclination this regal woman passed from the hall. I hastened after her; she lingered reluctantly beneath the lofty arch. "Rest well, Virgillius," she murmured sweetly; "in a few hours we meet again."

I bent deeply before her, but glanced up quickly at the sound of a low laugh—she was gone.

Her departure signaled the end of festivities, and after many salutations and best wishes we four found ourselves alone in the vast hall, staring vaguely at each other. The lights grew dim, casting ghostly reflections in the mirrored spaciousness, and chilled with the deathly silence pervading this marvelous crystal palace we hurried to our apart-