Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/244

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The Centaurians

Glaring at Saunders I bowed acquiescence. His colleagues eyed me curiously and slyly whispered: "The Virgillius."

Saxe. and Sheldon were urged to join the party, but their regrets were positive, and after a lively exchange of compliments we departed.


The Observatory, an odd circular building all turrets and balconies, capped the summit of a lofty mountain which rose abruptly out of the lovely bay surrounding the freak city of Centur.

The mystic enchanting quiet of this solitary mountain, with its dense forest of stunted trees and towering fort of science, fired the imagination with unwholesome ambition to accomplish grand impossibilities, and I longed to pierce the unknown and reveal the hidden light that gleams through the day and night. I told Saunders of my singular emotions. He sighed sympathetically and suggested astronomy, that impenetrable science which calms despondency in a profound realization of the sublime vastness of—Nothing.

The marvels revealed through colossal telescopes fascinated me. Viewing countless worlds swirling through space, strange unknown planets bounding from dark obscurity, great globes of vapory fire churning for centuries and centuries belching gigantic flashes, incited me to wild speculation which ended in a positive conviction of the habitation of the moon. This great wan sphere to telescopic