The Moon Pool
Chapter 19. The Madness Of Olaf
YOLARA threw her white arms high. From the mountainous tiers came a mighty sigh; a
rippling ran through them. And upon the moment, before Yolara's arms fell, there issued,
apparently from the air around us, a peal of sound that might have been the shouting of
some playful god hurling great suns through the net of stars. It was like the deepest notes
of all the organs in the world combined in one; summoning, majestic, cosmic!
It held within it the thunder of the spheres rolling through the infinite, the birth-song of
suns made manifest in the womb of space; echoes of creation's supernal chord! It shook
the body like a pulse from the heart of the universe--pulsed --and died away.
On its death came a blaring as of all the trumpets of conquering hosts since the first
Pharaoh led his swarms-triumphal, compelling! Alexander's clamouring hosts, brazen-
throated wolf-horns of Caesar's legions, blare of trumpets of Genghis Khan and his
golden horde, clangor of the locust levies of Tamerlane, bugles of Napoleon's armies --
war-shout of all earth's conquerors! And it died!
Fast upon it, a throbbing, muffled tumult of harp sounds, mellownesses of myriads of
wood horns, the subdued sweet shrilling of multitudes of flutes, Pandean pipings--
inviting, carrying with them the calling of waterfalls in the hidden places, rushing brooks
and murmuring forest winds--calling, calling, languorous, lulling, dripping into the brain
like the very honeyed essence of sound.
And after them a silence in which the memory of the music seemed to beat, to beat ever
more faintly, through every quivering nerve.
From me all fear, all apprehension, had fled. In their place was nothing but joyous
anticipation, a supernal freedom from even the shadow of the shadow of care or sorrow;
not now did anything matter--Olaf or his haunted, hatefilled eyes; Throckmartin or his
fate--nothing of pain, nothing of agony, nothing of striving nor endeavour nor despair in
that wide outer world that had turned suddenly to a troubled dream.
Once more the first great note pealed out! Once more it died and from the clustered
spheres a kaleidoscopic blaze shot as though drawn from the majestic sound itself. The
many-coloured rays darted across the white waters and sought the face of the irised Veil.
As they touched, it sparkled, flamed, wavered, and shook with fountains of prismatic
The light increased--and in its intensity the silver air darkened. Faded into shadow that
white mosaic of flowercrowned faces set in the amphitheatre of jet, and vast shadows
dropped upon the high-flung tiers and shrouded them. But on the skirts of the rays the
fretted stalls in which we sat with the fair-haired ones blazed out, iridescent, like jewels.