Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/230

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The Centaurians

ing destiny with compelling, flaming radiance—a mighty glory never realized, yet swaying the universe with longings reaching above and far beyond that monster called Death. Ah, Virgillius," she whispered tremulously, "I can love; yes, I can love; but with the knowledge happiness departs forever."

Rapturously I caught her hand, exultant; aflame at her confession I dared press my hot lips to her soft, fair neck. She shuddered, then gently drew from my embrace.

"Thus are the dead evils of the ancients easily acquired," she murmured gloomily, chilling my ardor and thrusting me and my passion to musty remoteness.

"And, Virgillius," she continued, "after centuries of training the savage is still untamed. Leave me now, I am wearied, and the day approaches."

She rose languidly, moving to the window. In the dull gray light of dawn she looked wan, strangely pathetic. In tenderest sympathy I hastened to her side, for the second half regretting my work which had robbed her forever of contentment. The ideal, always existing in her brain, had formed distinct, existable, and she worshipped every caprice of imagination.

Kindly she smiled dismissal, pointing to the heavens flushed with the new day. I understood and, raising her hand to my lips, silently departed. Out of her presence regrets vanished. I had commenced well and accomplished more in a few hours than I had expected to in weeks. Women always adore the ideal, and love a man.