Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/302

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The Centaurians

my life. I knew it. In an agony of wretchedness I caught her hand, holding it tight, and she—God!—laughed in her mirthful mood, taunting my gloomy countenance. The others joined in her sport, gayly encouraging me and quipped my depression; yet smile I could not. The dramatist declared I would make tragedy popular again, and the literary genius told me he would never regret our meeting, as I had colored the closing chapter of his forthcoming romance, which finale would crown him with immortality.

"You shall jest no longer at my Virgillius!" cried Alpha, leading me away, though laughing merrily.

It matters not what passed between us, she spoke seriously, and of the future.

"I am glad to return," she murmured; "do not begrudge me the scant joy of expectancy. It is only on the surface. In my heart I fear—ah!—I cannot, I cannot envelop you with the sweet foolishness lavished upon the impossible, but you taught me to love—I belong to you—and—er—Virgillius, we may both be happy yet."

God! I gasped, scarcely believing what I heard. My senses tingled, I seemed to choke. She gazed at me with wide open, tender eyes, and passionately I pressed her hand to my lips. She flushed at my ardor and turned aside. In mad adoration I caught her in my arms and crushed her to me. I cared not if the whole world spied upon us. I kissed my glorious Alpha upon the lips, eyes and sweetly flushed cheeks.

Snickering, smothered guffaws roused my