Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/206

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The Centaurians

garnished with underdone dumplings, a saute, to the dismay of our ancestors, is called the rising generation—were forgotten nuisances. In this marvelously enlightened world greed, cupidity were traits of mediæval times, merit rose superior to capricious "influence," students were ambitious, sincere in their efforts and sought elevation till they passed away to new spheres. Centur had many magnificent theaters, all with a remarkable roof contrivance. At a moment's notice the whole top of the building could be removed, sliding upon hinges and resting at the side of the house upon props like a huge box cover.

The opera house was by far the handsomest building of its kind in the city. The interior was indescribably beautiful, lavish, rich, wantonly luxurious, with a seating capacity for twenty thousand.

The Centaurians had still to conquer their passion for music, but comedy was the chief amusement, caged in a bijou of art splendid with elaborate decorations of foolish clowns, mirth-inspiring masks and rare, exquisite etchings of fair Folly in various beckoning attitudes. These wise children, with their wonderful clarity of thought, had long digested the happiness of laughter, but realized the absolute necessity of variation. Gloom spiced delight; ennui was strictly a product of my own country.

Tragedy was a classic, a profound culture, and was lodged in a sombre, stately building bearing the nearest approach to a prison I had yet encount