Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/289

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The Centaurians

Everybody became greatly interested in the strange palace with its numerous domes, steeples and beautiful lacey archways—an abode for gnomes and fairies, the crown jewel of the Vespa Belt, its diadem of artistic glory. Centauri with all her wonders could not boast of any work to compare with this marvelous palace.

Slowly, reluctantly, we sailed from the superb marble city with its gleaming white edifices, mosaic palaces and vast boulevards haunting the memory, so that in dreams the beautiful scene is revisited again and again. This crescent-shaped country was cultivated from point to point, and boasted a population of over forty millions. The Vespas worshipped the Sun, but enjoyed the dusk. In Centauri twilight is unknown, and the state of progression between the two countries was not worth warring over—they were tanto per tanto.

The morning of the third day we reached the extreme north point of the Belt and sighted the Great Ocean. The air was misty, ice cold, and a piercing salt breeze suddenly turned to a terrific gale and tore and whistled around the ship forcing her ahead at a dizzy speed.

"Well be out of it in a second," the literary gent assured us. "I feared we were venturing rather near the danger point. There four wind currents meet; anything caught in it is lost. The gale we're flying before is merely one of the four. Imagine the extreme north point of the crescent. It is said that at one time this land extended half across the ocean; but these four gales blowing constantly for