Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/226

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The Centaurians

forgetting Centauri entirely, but when I recovered sufficiently to look around for him the glorious Alpha and myself were alone.

She gently released herself, gazing at me with unresponsive, wonder-wide eyes.

"Is this love?" she asked, "and are you happy?"

"To love you is ecstasy!" I replied. "To possess you—heaven!"

"You are profane," she murmured reprovingly. "Woman is mortal. It is sacrilegious comparing her with paradise."

Powers above! my passion suddenly evaporated; but though she chilled me it was still rapture to be near her.

"I am trying to teach you the lesson of love, sweet Alpha," I whispered; "you must learn, you promised."

"You wish to marry me?" she asked.

I raised her hand to my lips and gazed ardently into her deep eyes (same here as on our side).

She moved from me and haughtily inquired if love in my country was not equivalent to marriage.

Rebuked, I humbly answered: "Not always; we marry frequently and for many reasons, least of all for love."

"We marry for companionship, respect," she icily informed me. "Intellect mates with intellect; mental, physical equality, produces the ideal."

"You have betrayed the Centaurians," I cried triumphantly. "Love is not vetoed, but so sifted and refined it bears little resemblance to the divine flame,