Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/196

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The Centaurians

cure in a dimly-lit room crowded with primitive earthenware, grotesque pottery and cooking utensils. Progression had neatly divided the apartment. Near where I stood were shelves of ancient bric-a-brac and clay crockery of unique design and molding. There were tall, shining pedestals and enormous fat vases, and behind a hideous idol with white eyes, I hid till sure those I wished to avoid had passed on.

I wandered aimlessly, marveling at the fabulous antiquity, and finally anchored in a vast department of massive machinery. Here progression had made rapid strides; you could follow it from the crude, primitive, to perfected mechanism. I came across a curiously devised instrument, raw, immature, yet very similar to Saxe.'s lost Propellier. His invention, however, was the idea perfected, and to excite comparison and prove the superiority of his own instrument he intended constructing a new machine and present it to the museum.

I examined strange traveling conveyances, uncouth, chariot-shaped, and laughed at the repetition of custom—chariots were in use at the present time. There were huge ocean liners, and bulky, high-masted sailing vessels, and ominous, sullen battleships. The railroad was ludicrously represented« in complete trains of heavy, lumbersome coaches, drawn by gigantic engines, as different from the locomotives of our world as the two halves of the globe. The first aerial machine, though a complete failure, had its niche in this colossal exposition. Tragic was its history, a score or more lives sacri-