countering anything alive and had decided to make a second trip when just ahead, advancing rapidly, I spied the figure of a woman; tall, lithe, graceful. I hastened forward, then stopped, gasped and bared my head before the lovely child, for she was little more. She stopped also and gazed at me with frank, curious eyes, a faint smile curved the perfect mouth, the face was bewitching in its undeveloped, innocent beauty.
She held out her hand in welcome.
"Your name?" she asked.
"With pleasure," I responded, "and yours?"
"Abella," she answered simply. "But I was sure you were 'The Virgillius.' I never heard of With-pleasure, before."
She laughed merrily, and beneath the searching hazel eyes my face flushed.
"I am Virgillius," I hastened to inform her. "Virgillius Salucci."
"'The Virgillius!'" she cried in triumph. "I knew I could not be mistaken. Ah," she sighed ecstatically, "'The Virgillius,' he who braved the dead North, that he might see the women of Centauri and impel them to revive the lost art."
This was one way of putting it, but not exactly what I crossed the Pole for. I gazed with bold admiration at the beautiful young woman. She seemed unaware of my warm glances, and as she took my arm, smilingly inviting me to go with her, no mock modest blush marred the delicate transparency of her skin. The women of Centauri do not blush—they have nothing to blush for.