Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/203

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The Centaurians

and outstretched arms sang ardently—sang to the Sun. And the woman upon whom I feasted my eyes stood in all her marvelous loveliness amid the burning rays of this fiery god, in truth a Priestess of the Sun.

As the sun gradually sailed over the opening the rays became shorter, more oblique, casting odd black shadows, and finally the Temple was once more in darkness. The song ended abruptly, the congregation rose and quietly dispersed; services were over.

I remained, intending to examine this peculiar Temple of a fiery religion, but the lid slid suddenly over the opening above and hastily I groped my way to the door, thankful there were no seats to stumble over. Out in the hot sunshine again I mingled with the crowd that hurried in various directions and wandered about the city for hours.

The architecture of public buildings was varied, unique, superb, and in complete contrast to the monotonous sameness of private dwellings. Skilled architects had planned that no two government buildings should in any way be similar. Near the palace was the court house, a low, square, rugged stone building of primitive hideousness, centuries—centuries old. Prisons there were none; this half of the globe was free of criminals. It was explained to me that all causes fostering crime belonged to the middle ages. A philosopher had then predicted that civilization would be complete when passionate humanity became extinct—ahem! The Centaurians had mastered civilization in the produc-