Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/339

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The Centaurians

had not said farewell. Centauri! Centauri! The name rattled through my brain. I turned sick with longing, myth or woman, I craved to see her again. And so befogged my senses became between sweet, forlorn memories, and the tumult around me that as the sudden ear-splitting shriek of a whistle pierced the air I jumped and nearly fell from my toppling floral throne.

Pandemonium reigned as Saxe.'s great machine speeded into view, and he beamed and shouted, waving his cap at the cheering mob, while Sheldon and Saunders stood upon the platform yelling like Apaches. The engine slackened as it neared the ship, then rushed up the bridge, running the full length of the deck.

My three comrades appeared suspiciously flustered and anxious as I boarded the ship, and busied constantly about me till we cut from the steel shell and floated upward—foolish trio.

Friends pressed around us and many were the long hand-clasps and good wishes huskily expressed. I was thankful when the bell of warning sounded and all hurriedly departed. Then, amid wild cheers, the ship slowly rose, the loud whirring, flapping of sail wings almost drowned the "good luck" called up to us. Higher and still higher we floated, the vast throng below massed and wavered. I leaned dangerously over the railing yelling, frantically signaling to the people who could no longer see or hear me. Then the ship shifted to a slanting course, darting meteor-like over the deep blue bay of Centur. Rich, fertile