Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/336

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The Centaurians

world to her. Absorbed in one another they had completely forgotten me and silently I departed.

Heavy gloom had apparently settled upon my three friends, but they brightened considerably at my return, especially when perceiving my calmness, and I accompanied them to view the instrument that was to speed us over the Pole again.


During the final days we were lavishly fêted. The Centaurians presented all manner of flattering inducements, and noted orators from all parts of the land came, argued, vainly tempting us to remain among them. They warned us that we had become acclimated, and like the Centaurians would perish when reaching a certain latitude. But we couldn't see it, and I was the most anxious to depart. I thought of my three guardians, Middleton & Co., of the sceptre-like power my wealth influenced, by eminence in my own world, and maybe it was not altogether my wealth Beauty desired. My life had been marred; Cynicism, the brilliant, cruel blossom of Gold, had blinded me from the cradle to the purity of nature. The Ideal never possessed, still charmed; far above the earthly she lured, ever fair and true—unattainable.

Alpha Centauri realized the image of my brain, but the living, tangible woman dispelled the charm and I awoke with a shock, yet rapturous that the Ideal still existed. And I knew once out of this cursed country, away from the strangely fascinating woman who bore its name, that even regret