Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/338

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The Centaurians

who, since day-break, had been swarming into the gardens and streets surrounding the palace, and who now sweltered and jostled impatiently in the intense noon heat.

I spied my two old literary friends forcing their way through the crowd, and eagerly beckoned, while my gay companions boisterously hailed them. They responded by immediately disappearing beneath the flame-glinting portico, and elbowed their way to my side. Both gentlemen bubbled with fun and witticism, and I learned that my "meteor-like visit had been mystically impressive"; also, that I was too light for tragedy, too deep for comedy; my forte lay in the enjoyment I could take in both. I was advised to never again attempt any character except myself, and both in chorus implored me to cut out romance altogether.

Of course I joined in the laughter, though hazy to the joke, and while raking my brains for an apt retort was unconscious of the mischief brewing. I was suddenly seized and hoisted high. In spite of my protests I was rushed to the vestibule and dumped into a throne of foliage and rainbow blossoms, then borne aloft upon the shoulders of these rascally exquisites of Centur, began a merry, triumphant march to the ship. People cheered me wildly all along the route, and I yelled myself hoarse, while ladies pelted me with blossoms, and though I flashed bold glances right and left my mind suddenly shifted from the gay, noisy scene, and I glanced despairingly in the direction of the palace sparkling in the noon sun. Alpha Centauri