Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/293

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The Centaurians

tions, commanding order. I heard an awful rumbling noise, the mountains swayed as trees in the wind, the sky became suffused, lurid, the air suffocating. There was a terrific explosion, a huge funnel of fire rose, meeting the heavens, and monstrous columns of yellow, red, black smoke swallowed all nature. I shrieked in horror and obscurity clouded the frightful scene. Once more the future was a blank, dark, illusive. Virgillius, I did not sleep or dream; Centauri, Sheldon and all with them are in peril. I shall save them. Speed has been doubled, the ship travels swifter than the wind, and we will reach the mountains toward evening of the day after to-morrow. It is the fastest time ever made over the Great Ocean, and the Ocstas is the first land sighted, then—Centur. Come, Virgillius, this will never do, we must join the others. Artoisti will teach you the game he is eternally playing with Dreaisti."

Artoisti was the literary gent, and he of Dreaisti the dramatist. I argued against both gentlemen and the game, and feelingly pleaded to remain with her the afternoon. She laughingly refused to listen to me and made sport of my earnestness. We joined the others.

Artoisti called me to the table where he was playing with Dreaisti. I watched the game some time, but was soon convinced that in a hundred years I couldn't master it. It was tedious, complicated, and played with oblong ivory chips the size of a match ornamented with fine threads of color. The game seemed a mixture of chess, checkers and