Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/329

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The Centaurians

ened with weariness, my brain ached and wandered, then finally——



Disappointment is destiny: the grim inevitable to climax every ambition and season the soul with reason. Disappointment spares this world of imbeciles. And I, for all my wealth, became a man afflicted with a grand disappointment, just a swirling atom in this planet of passion. The room was flooded with yellow sunlight; after all it was a good, cosy old world, and why was I complaining when, for the first time in my life, I realized just what I expected only spoiled the good effect by trying to tease myself into false security.

My three friends watched me slyly, though engaged in their usual discussion. Sheldon and Saunders had returned to their old disputes. Saxe. was trying to make peace, and once more did I feel the usual inclination to sic the two old boys on. I joined them and was soon drawn into the mêlée. Saxe. expostulated, and I discovered I could still laugh.

Mike's entrance ended the row. He informed me Alpha Centauri wished to see me at once. It occurred to me I was no longer at the beck and call of this woman who had killed the beautiful, the poetical in me, and I replied: "I would follow shortly." Mike stared and possibly fancied some