Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/319

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The Centaurians

Sheldon's sharp eyes twinkled as he twitted me of my love.

"The Vespa Prince!" he jeeringly remarked, "you overdo your little act. When one is beloved there are no rivals—you know it. The superb Alpha thinks, dreams of just one man—Virgillius. The Prince is the final act of a comedy, unnecessary, witless. He cares not a rap for the peerless Alpha. He was sent here to work as much mischief as possible, then come home again. The King is a vindictive old cuss, thinks his son invincible, and the fair Alpha showed scant courtesy to the old boy, and the Prince is full of ginger. The people here have jollied the young fellow along because he's a pretty boy, even old Centauri said he was a fine specimen. The remarkable change noted in the wondrous Alpha since your advent has roused universal discussion, and scientists aver she is gradually degenerating to the level of primeval womanhood. Virgillius, you seem foolishly timid, this mystical woman has fascinated you. You forget women have always been your—er—inspiration, and you have yet to meet defeat. You have loved before and many times as deeply as you do now; this affair is not more serious than the others. Lay aside passion for one cold little moment; think, my boy, calmly, soberly; do not be an ass.

"Powers above! why don't men cultivate more thought in such emergencies? At any rate one thing is certain, you return with us. You have to; friends would think we'd made away with you—we're all so handsomely provided for in your