Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/24

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The Centaurians

which, like everything else, failed to impress me, though I stored it safely away in my memory.

"My young friend," he said, "you have traveled over a great portion of the globe and encountered a vast assortment of people, and to your astonishment discovered that good predominated. Everybody is good according to their idea of goodness—ahem! Am I not right? You see, I've studied you as you studied me. Salucci, cease to embitter your life with false views of yourself and others, you've entered the wrong track altogether; it is the man all admire, not the wealth which you permit to kill ambition. Interest yourself in financial problems, the most wonderful of all sciences. You're a born financier. God in heaven! what were the Fates up to that they bestowed upon you every faculty to amass riches, then supplied you with the fortune! What puppets we are! Last night you wished me luck, prosperity; and, Salucci, I wish you happiness. Good-bye."

I watched him hurrying away and almost fall into the arms of two dapper young men who were waiting for him. They had recognized him as I did and their object and interview. The old gentleman smiled genially upon them, but his amazement was comical when they addressed him—he looked politely embarrassed as though regretting he was not the party they were looking for, then shrugged his graceful old shoulders and quietly departed; and the two young men stared at each other, astounded that it was possible they had been trapped into a