Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/301

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The Centaurians

ways lead to argument and time is too limited for that. An argument should last at least a month, both sides talking all the time. How very young, inexperienced, you must be, Virgillius; you still have to discover that women have no emotions. The Centaurians are all humorists, tragedy is an obliterated evil; and, Virgillius, we reach Centur at sunrise. I must go and finish my Ode to Joy. We will meet again."

He hurried away, chuckling, glancing over his shoulder to smile good-humoredly at me. Alone, a sudden depression came upon me. I was living in a nerve-racking atmosphere of doubt and anxiety. Dejectedly I entered my cabin to wait in gloomy misery for day, but deadly wearied, unknowingly I sank into deep slumber, which lasted till heavy movements about the ship roused me. I hurried on deck, the morning was flushed with the rising sun, we sailed over a deep blue bay, and just ahead glistened the crystal city of Centur. Everybody was on deck to view the magnificent scene, but exchanged amused glances and smiled openly at my tardiness, while Alpha, radiant, buoyant with hope, greeted me with laughter and jest. Repose had not banished despondency; I chilled with dread and black forebodings. In all the travels, when constantly fearing the possible materializing of the "adored," I never experienced the positive hopelessness that now warned me of sure and bitter, bitter disappointment. Alpha Centauri would treasure the ideal forever. I was miserable, cruelly fated to worship a phantom which was fading from