Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/337

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The Centaurians

would cease and again would I be the free, careless Salucci, fleeing from one idea to another; fickle, but comfortable.

Centauri and I never met again in private. She always had a fond, regretful glance and lingering hand pressure, but did not seek to see me alone and I did not ask her. We had parted with a sweet embrace and I would leave her happy with her Prince and—immortality.


The day finale arrived. At noon we sailed forever from this strange, glorious land. Already Centauri and its people seemed of the past and would soon become faint, formless, in the soothing haze of memory. Saxe. lost trace of me in the pleasures offered by those interested in his craft. Sheldon had been mobbed and captured by the Geological-Geographical societies, and Saunders had been at the Observatory for three days past. I was the guest of a fashionable coterie of gay, idle young dandies, who made my last week in their freakish, but beautiful, world one of revelry. They were to be my escort in the farewell march to the ship, and as mid-day approached clustered about me eagerly, intent, apparently, that I should not have an instant for reflection.

They flattered, cajoled, and with delicate innuendo made me aware of my immense popularity. Incidentally I discovered that I was the last of the quartette to remain in the palace, and casually my attention was directed to the great mass of people