Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/27

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The Centaurians

kindness in hurrying to greet me. Why couldn't I be content with the action? What happiness is there in continually searching the motive? Middleton & Co. certainly had regard for me, else would have remained in their comfortable offices such a cold, raw morning. Away with this damned eternal probing, accept what is given, never expect more; yet judging from universal bitter comments of injury, humanity is firm in the belief, more is given than received. Smiling faces, flattering tongues, affectionate attitudes are at least genuine in exertion, why question further? It is enough to cement friendship.

If Middleton & Co. knew of my engaging thoughts while I was wringing their hands they would at once send in a bill for all the advice given gratis since my infancy. What a valuable nature is mine, and what disfigurement is humanity to this gloriously beautiful world.

I remained a month in town, following implicitly the orders of Middleton & Co. We'd had a thorough understanding plus details, and I learned my twelve years abroad had made vast inroads upon my fortune, still I was several centuries from starvation. I chided the old boys for their needless anxiety—Middleton & Co. hung on to every cent they could grasp, then felt injured. Dutifully I dined at each of their homes and gave a return banquet to the club; also, I attended a few extraordinary affairs—decorations, rows of debutantes—then suddenly discovered I didn't owe anybody anything anyhow, and quietly slipped down to my country