Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/195

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The Centaurians

treacherous, and the living beauty——? I was informed the portrait was a splendid likeness of the first woman to rule the Centaurians. Her reign had been one of culture and prosperity. She existed during the era of Love, and was Alpha the First. All the women of the Great Family have been named after her. "There is a wonderful resemblance between the portrait and the present Alpha," I remarked.

My informant lowered his eyes. The glamour of awe, reverence, had been well ground into these people. Apparently the present Alpha was sacred and beyond comparison. The political situation of this great country could be regarded any way it pleased the Centaurians, but their Alpha was their Queen.

The worshipful gentleman spoke, his voice trembling with pride. "The present Alpha is divine," he told me.

I saluted.

"And," he continued, "the painting that so interests you represents the Centaurians just emerging from the savage state."

"Ah, bravo!" We bowed deeply to each other and, admiringly. I watched him as he strolled leisurely away.

For some time I lingered, studying the untamed beauty of Alpha the First, then as the echo of voices reached me, and fearing to encounter those who had failed to notice my absence, I hurried ahead through luxurious apartments furnished in the silken modernness of my world and rested se-