Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/200

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The Centaurians

gance was very impressive, I wearied of the monotonous similarity of the odd domed buildings, glistening with a greenish lustre. It was this sea lustre which caused Sheldon to exclaim, when beholding the palace of Centauri, "A palace of crystal!"

Houses were not crushed together as seen in our cities. Each building was centered in a spacious square and all surrounded with high, solid walls. Curious, I examined this wall. The surface was smooth, shiny and cold. I decided the foundation was of stone veneered with a combination of—er——.

A short distance ahead a gentleman stepped from one of the gardens and I hastened to join him. He had no objection to my company; the Centaurians are a genial, social race. It was not long, however, before he discovered I was "one of the four strangers who had crossed," etc., and he hung like a burr. He was full of information, tedious with lengthy explanations—he went clear around the city to reach a point just across the street, and I watched for a chance to lose him, deciding finally to excuse myself and streak up another avenue, when suddenly he grasped my arm, murmuring: "The hour of worship," and rushed me ahead to avoid the people trooping from houses and gardens who swelled the great throng that gradually swooped upon us. In the crush I lost my friend, but could see him peering for me in all directions and cheerfully eluded him. I was forced along, wondering at the destination of this dense, silent throng, all so