Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/30

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The Centaurians

Middleton's chagrin was amusing.

Several days later early one morning I and a pair of thoroughbreds speeded toward the suburbs in search of my old friend Saxlehner. I reined up in front of a little old cottage of one floor, cellar and attic. The little front garden was overgrown with tall pink flowers and huge yellow ones with broad green leaves. The gate hung upon one hinge because it liked to, and had to be coaxed to open wide enough to admit one. There was a narrow, graveled path leading up to an olive green door, ornamented with a tarnished brass knocker in the form of a lion's head with a ring through its nose. And here in these parts so peaceful and sunny, old Saxe. had buried himself with his colossal ideas.

I strode up to the olive door, and used the knocker several times with noisy effect. My summons were certainly heard throughout the house and several blocks beyond, but all remained calm, peaceful, no sign of a living creature anywhere. I stepped out to examine the premises and discovered smoke issuing from the chimney, so tried my luck again with a series of startling knocks. I heard footsteps, quick, jerky, irritated footsteps; bolts were snappishly drawn and the door opened violently; there stood Saxe., red and angry, enveloped from head to foot in a huge apron, sleeves rolled up, and armed with a fork.

"Well, young man," he bawled, "might have known I didn't want to be bothered; what d'ye want?"

Same old Saxe., cross and lovable as ever. I took