Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/343

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The Centaurians

Saxe., Sheldon and Saunders entered the Propellier. The Centaurians collected around the machine in sorrowful farewell. The ship softly plowed the snow, the bridge was lowered, and we cheered as Saxe. put the machine in motion and dashed out into the great white desert.

I strode forward with Alpha clinging to me; suddenly she flung her arms around me and laid her cheek against mine.

"Let them go," she murmured; "you must remain. Virgillius, we cannot part! Ah, do not leave me!"

"Why should he remain?" demanded a voice close beside us.

Alpha gasped, but continued to cling to me, and startled, we turned to find the Vespa Prince glaring at us with jealous eyes.

Beautiful Centauri laughed hysterically, pressing her hands over her eyes as though bewildered, then she clung to my shoulder, murmuring:

"Remain; do not heed him."

"Remain for what?" I whispered, caressing her hair.

"For love," she murmured; "for love—it is not too late."

The Prince moved restlessly.

"Be patient," I muttered; "you will have her always. I paved the way."

"Nonsense!" he retorted. "I could have taught her; so could any man who had the courage. She is not a saint, just a sweet, warm-hearted woman who grieves at your departure because you came