Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/250

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The Centaurians

Abella led me to the side of the mountain facing Centur, then escorted me up a long flight of steps and into one of the huge, emerald-tinted marbles. A man, busy mending fish-nets, glanced up as we entered, then hurriedly advanced to meet us. Abella gently pushed me forward and presented "The Virgillius" to—her husband!

He greeted me cordially. A massive fellow head and shoulders above me, and I a tall man. A fine man, but how did he come by such a lovely wife? For according to the matrimonial system of this land these two were not mates. Abella, aside from the peerless Alpha, was the loveliest morsel of femininity I had seen in this land of beautiful women. I contrived to see a great deal of her during my stay at the Observatory. I would descend to the village in the early morning and not return to the summit till the stars were out.

I sketched the girl in many poses. Features such as hers could be naught but beautiful, however criminal the artist, and became very friendly with the husband; a typical Centaurian, whose password was Equality. This brawny fisherman had a wonderful flow of language, his intelligence was deep, he knew when he had talked enough—a science many have still to master on our side of the world.

The man was a magnificent specimen of the strange, soulless nature of his race. Under circumstances that would have driven me mad with doubt and irritation he was calm, serene. He permitted his young, lovely wife, to spend hours in the society of one famous as Cupid.