Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/193

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The Centaurians

so different from us—the whole world avoids a man in love.

I emerged from the forest of blush lilies; a wide waste of velvety lawn stretched far to the east, and nestling in a hollow of soft emerald, a long grotesque structure of ivory whiteness gleamed. It was the museum. The entrance stood wide and I entered a lofty, tiled hall, the walls wondrously carved; fabulous monstrosities leered from all sides. I stepped into a spacious room hung with handwoven silks and rare tapestries of intricate design, rich scarfs of delicate raised beading represented scenes of a strange, unknown period. There were peculiar wall ornaments in circular and diamond shapes. Queer conical baskets, varying in size from a thimble to a trunk woven from human hair, the various shades blending exquisitely in quaint patterns. There were curious pouches, chatelaines and many dainty toilet articles, made from the damask leather of pulped flowers, the odor after unknown centuries clinging pungently to the crushed blossoms.

I strolled from one department to the other crowded with priceless curios. It was impossible to view everything in a single day, but I did good work in the few hours I spent there, and during my stay in Centur visited the museum many times.

Most of the morning glided away as I lingered before great jewel cases, containing superb gems. I marveled at the rare, beautiful settings, and queer golden ornaments covered with weird inscriptions; great golden urns, shaped like a bishop's mitre, and