Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/53

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The Centaurians

less, and those obliged to be out in such a storm; then there was the sound of crashing timber and frightful shrieks roused me from my lethargy and I realized I would not be spared for all my riches. Violent gusts of wind shook the building. I feared the roof would cave in and crush me, yet calculated nicely just how long it would take for the expected to happen. I felt no alarm or discomfort at the destruction going on, but when too late realized peril in the awful roaring, fateful crash in my vicinity. The walls of my rooms fell apart, the ceiling rose and was carried away and I borne with frightful velocity upon the wind, tossed hither and thither; and this tornado with the strength of a hundred thousand giants had the gentleness of a lover. Upon a bed of soft, flaky clouds I finally floated in delicious tranquillity and gradually with exquisite tenderness I was lowered to a wonderful world of down. As far as the eye reached was a vast plain of fairy-land, dazzling in whiteness, maddening in silence, with a ridge of pale mountains gleaming blue, phantom-like. My flesh quivered with the cold, but I was powerless to move or cry out; and here in this great, icy throne, was I forced to sit and gaze at the desolate wilderness of snow, snow, snow; a vast, strange region, with dead, suffocating vapor clinging to my nostrils; dumb, a prey to fear and wonder. The roar and crash of the tornado; anything but this horrible stillness with the heavy dread enveloping me. I remained there forever, it seemed, but gradually my eyes became accustomed to the dull, leaden atmosphere, and I perceived far, far in