beneath gigantic trees, enjoying their cool, quiet protection from the fierce sunlight. Strange flowers grew in profusion, flowers of massive beauty and sickening-sweet fragrance.
"Monstrosities—flowers—Centaurians!" snapped Saxe., still harping on the subject that made me realize the full meaning of despair.
I passionately loved the beautiful Centaurian who ruled over this abnormal civilization, whose demise meant—bah! does Saxe. know any more about it than the rest of us? Impatiently I turned away, colliding with a huge bush glorious in bloom, whose exquisite flower of transparent whiteness petaled a star-shaped, golden heart. Instantly the beautiful, heavy, fragrant clusters enslaved the senses with a strange, ecstatic glamour. The compelling personality of the siren I worshipped roused vivid, overpoweringly, crowding from my mind all obnoxious warnings. Impulsively I plucked the gorgeous witch flowers, and with fervent message sent them to the fairest, most beautiful woman in all the world. The reply was brief, characteristic, despairing. Alpha Centauri was thankful I had rested well (which I hadn't mentioned), and trusted I would find the day full of enjoyment. She would receive me when I returned from the Observatory.
"Damn the Observatory!" I blurted out.
"Another man, no fake!" chirped Sheldon in his usual consoling manner. "A fine girl like that, of course, has admirers."
"I don't believe it!" I bawled.
"Centur is not interested in your beliefs," he re-