Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/224

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The Centaurians

worshippers, and the emblem of our faith burns in the heavens for all eternity."

She had forgotten us. Standing erect, magnificent in her enthusiasm with face and arms uplifted, a goddess above the gods; she was superb in her fanaticism. I glanced at Centauri; he sat with crossed arms and bowed head, moody, silent. A long, quivering sigh and Alpha realized the present. She glanced defiantly at her father, yet her face retained its beauteous, angelic expression. She smiled divinely upon me and told me the night was still young, that my friends had not returned from the Ocstas, and she would know more of my wonderful country.

She leaned dangerously near me. Her face flushed and her eyes gleamed as she passed her hand over my brow. I raised my arms to clasp her, but she darted away; with a cry of adoration I sprang up and dared to follow, but she was gone; and Centauri's cold words chilled my passion as he bade me be seated. In the moment he was the mechanical Centauri, courteous, deliberate, freezingly distant.

"The love that creates desire is beyond the Centaurians," he told me. "Progression erased the bestial. The fiery red of the savage still tinges your blood, and my learned daughter is as far above and beyond you as the Sun, that inspires her ravings. Give up this consuming desire—which breeds disappointment, turning bitter the sweetness of your nature. In very sympathy I would spare you, my