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A Voyage to Arcturus

"He may go, wife," put in the old man hoarsely, "but I won't allow you to go. I will take
him over myself."
"No, you have always put me off," said Gleameil, with some emotion. "This time I mean
to go. When Teargeld shines at night, and I sit on the shore here, listening to Earthrid's
music travelling faintly across the sea, I am tortured - I can't endure it.... I have long since
made up my mind to go to the island, and see what this music is. If it's bad, if it kills me -
"What have I to do with the man and his music, Gleameil?" demanded Maskull.
"I think the music will answer all your questions better than Polecrab has done - and
possibly in a way that will surprise you."
"What kind of music can it be to travel all those miles across the sea?"
"A peculiar kind, so we are told. Not pleasant, but painful. And the man that can play the
instrument of Earthrid would be able to conjure up the most astonishing forms, which are
not phantasms, but realities."
"That may be so," growled Polecrab. "But I have been to the island by daylight, and what
did I find there? Human bones, new and ancient. Those are Earthrid's victims. And you,
wife, shall not go."
"But will that music play tonight?" asked Maskull.
"Yes," replied Gleameil, gazing at him intently. "When Teargeld rises, which is our
"If Earthrid plays men to death, it appears to me that his own death is due. In any case I
should like to hear those sounds for myself. But as for taking you with me, Gleameil -
women die too easily in Tormance. I have only just now washed myself clean of the
death blood of another woman."
Gleameil laughed, but said nothing.
"Now go to sleep," said Polecrab. "When the time comes, I will take you across myself."
He lay down again, and closed his eyes. Maskull followed his example; but Gleameil
remained sitting erect, with her legs under her.
"Who was that other woman, Maskull?" she asked presently.
He did not answer, but pretended to sleep.