Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/33

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The Centaurians

ously guarded this treasure, whatever it was, and skillfully turned my attention to other matters.

"And was it for this you resigned everything?" I blurted out.

"Exactly," he replied.

"Where does it lead to?"

"North Pole."

I turned to him in astonishment, he stared back defiantly.

I refrained from remark, but—a sensible man like Saxe. should have such a fool desire!

"And the end?" I asked stupidly.

"North Pole!" he cried out impatiently.

"Well! well! well!"

He took my arm and led me down stairs, remarking: "I was about to eat the finest dinner I ever tasted in my life."

I certainly enjoyed the meal. As a cook, Saxe. was an expert. His superb Sauterne and Chianti loosened our tongues, and Saxe. speedily learned I was wide and adrift as to my future intentions. This was during the pessimistic Sauterne stage, when the preparatory gloom of expected hilarity causes one to view life sadly, and I ended up a long-winded refrain with: "Honestly, Saxe., I believe the end of it all will be a woman!"

Saxe. was horrified.

"A woman!" he yelled, "A woman! good heavens, Salucci, you must be mad!"

"It's an ordinary madness," I snapped, "and I see no occasion for excitement if eventually the main idea should develop into a woman. What's so