Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/202

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The Centaurians

nothing, but gradually the darkness lifted. I was in a house of worship crowded with a kneeling, reverent congregation. Ignorant of what they worshipped, I would not kneel, but squatted upon the cold, tiled floor, and peered through the dim light. A long hall, wide, windowless, with lofty domed ceiling and rounded walls hung with rich tapestries and exquisite wood etchings. In the roof was a circular opening about twenty feet in diameter—this admitted all the light and ventilation. No wonder the place was cold, dark and filled with close vapors. Directly beneath this opening four massive, yet transparent, columns rose, and in the center a figure stood heavily draped, with face upturned and arms hanging limply at the sides. In the dimness at first I took this form for a fifth column. The congregation was a silent one, no psalm singing, minister or priest; yet all were reverently, devoutly engrossed. Gradually the light grew brighter, clearer, and long, slanting rays of the sun filtered through the opening. Longer, stronger, grew these slants of light and heat penetrating the darkest corner. Then suddenly the sun itself appeared, a round, burning disc, high in the heavens directly above the opening. The Temple was flooded with light, and the figure I took for a statue moved, flinging up its arms in worshipful adoration, chanting weirdly in low tones. As the sun moved so did the form. I caught a glimpse of the face and fell against my neighbor with a loud, startled cry, but my voice was drowned in the great volume of music that filled the place. These people with lifted faces