Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/252

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The Centaurians

possession appreciated the ravishing beauty of Abella. These people did not differ so much from us; true, we could love, but preferred not to, whereas they were bereft of inclination; still the grand finale was marvelously similar—possession killed desire.

I had the audacity to show Abella some of my sketches. She examined them critically, and, as the Centaurians are devoid of passion so are they above deceit. This simple little fisher-girl told me I was not an artist, that my work was crude and lacked character. She took me to her brilliant overturned tea-cup of a home and showed me some of her crayons and pastels. The artist had a bold, strong stroke, rather remarkable in a woman, but taken all in all Abella did not excel in art any more than I did. Landscape was her forte, as it is with all women. At once I recognized the artistically crooked lines trailing across the faint horizon.

Women are more clever than men; they rarely attempt what is beyond them. Continual failure, due to overtaxation of capabilities, is entirely a masculine trait.

I was quite frank with Abella, and she was wonderfully patient. Women of my world ostracise unfavorable criticism, the spontaneous critic embroils and is always a boor.

Abella told me she lacked talent, but that she was beautiful.

"And how do you know?" I asked stupidly.

"My husband is the most famous artist in the world and he has told me."