Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/253

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The Centaurians

"Excellent!" I cried. "If that mode were only popular in my land, vice would become extinct. But we have not mastered the divine power of resistance, we shrivel in egotism; and love—the genuine thrill is as much a myth in my land as in yours—is recognized as the most malignant form of insanity; marriage is the remedy which produces merciful reaction. Truly are the men of Centauri wise, their wives are ever beautiful, though unloved."

Abella threw up her hands. "How very strange, and how very unhappy you all must be!" she cried.

The dear child! So interesting to converse with one who cannot understand … beautiful, tedious, the two always go together; yet I had been detained a week.

Undaunted by Abella's frankness, I offered my sketches to the artist fisherman for examination. He smiled indulgently, looked them over, and desired them all, offering in return any one from his wonderful collection. I agreed, and followed him to the top of his mound-shaped home, entering a room strong with the odor of oil and paint. It was the workshop of an artist; a studio is quite another place. Near the window upon an easel was a half finished painting of sky, storm clouds, with a background of thunderous, rolling, flame-tinged vapor—the sullen red of a storm sun that no artist has as yet mastered. The picture was powerfully impressive. The fisherman was a master, his aim—individuality. But I could not admire his ideal of feminine beauty. He was the creator of a Type, elongated, sombre, gaunt, thick-lipped; yet in these