Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/34

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The Centaurians

terrible about it? All our brilliant men and heroes end their careers with a woman."

"Stuff!" cried Saxe. "Stuff and nonsense! you're not in earnest, you'd cease to interest me if you were. Yet there's a lot in your statement. Many great men have ended with a woman—that was their death; but all accomplished their ambition before seeking diversion."

I laughed, and told him he had just quoted me—women were the most delightful diversion the world contained. He flushed and tried to appear angry. I laughed louder and asked him how old he was. He seemed younger than when I left college. He shook his head impatiently, and cried, "Fudge! got over all that twenty years ago. I'm near fifty," he told me, "but a man can remain the same age fifteen years. How old do I look?"

"Thirty-five," I answered promptly.

"I thought so," he replied slyly, "a man always remains that at least fifteen years, and it is generally understood we do not reach prime till sixty—ahem!"

We'd reached the Chianti, and also the conclusion that we were both rather fortunate than otherwise in being alive. This is a cheering, vigorous thought, and the Chianti inspired lengthy discussions upon all manner of scientific subjects; and as my interests were centered in the attic Saxe. finally took me up there again.

I made straight for the great canvas covering, and Saxe., who had thrown reserve to the winds, assisted me to remove the covering, and to my as-