Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/213

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The Centaurians

We reached a narrow, winding stairway, and the friendly guide cautioned and advised slow travel.

I began the steep descent, but frequently rested, owing to an odd trembling, and from that day forever I abhorred the odor of musk and wondered if I had inhaled any of the perfumed powder of the Great Family. Reaching the gloomy, black tiled hall, I rushed like one possessed out into the fresh air, but the beauties of the garden had vanished and I raced along the white paths and was soon streaking it across the green country, nor did I slacken up till reaching once more the swaying, circular forest. I followed the edge of the curving grove, hoping it would lead to the heart of the city, but instead the trees thinned to the harbor. The long, slanting rays of the sun glistened upon white piers and bridges which jutted far out into the bay. Gateways were elaborate columned arches, and the fantastic domed and spiral turreted roofs of dock buildings gave Centur the appearance of a great mystical palace floating upon the sea. If only the much respected municipalities of our various cities could have accompanied me upon that tour of inspection——!!!

Heavy freight was still transported by water and rail. I watched strong, brawny men load and unload queer, barge-like ships.

The wages of labor was paid in bolts of goods, provisions and books. Knowledge was prized higher than gold or silver.

All work was done for the government. There was but one government, one nationality, one lan-