A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version
Maskull forgot his own tortures in his devil's delight at Tydomin's. "Sing me a song!" he
called out presently. "A characteristic one."
She turned her head and gave him a long, peculiar look; then, without any sort of
expostulation, started singing. Her voice was low and weird. The song was so
extraordinary that he had to rub his eyes to ascertain whether he was awake or dreaming.
The slow surprises of the grotesque melody began to agitate him in a horrible fashion; the
words were pure nonsense - or else their significance was too deep for him.
"Where, in the name of all unholy things, did you acquire that stuff, woman?"
Tydomin shed a sickly smile, while the corpse swayed about with ghastly jerks over her
left shoulder. She held it in position with her two left arms. "It's a pity we could not have
met as friends, Maskull. I could have shown you a side of Tormance which now perhaps
you will never see. The wild, mad, side. But now it's too late, and it doesn't matter."
They turned the angle of the mountain, and started to traverse the western base.
"Which is the quickest way out of this miserable land?" asked Maskull.
"It is easiest to go to Sant."
"Will we see it from anywhere?"
"Yes, though it is a long way off."
"Have you been there?"
"I am a woman, and interdicted."
"True. I have heard something of the sort."
"But don't ask me any more questions," said Tydomin, who was becoming faint.
Maskull stopped at a little spring. He himself drank, and then made a cup of his hand for
the woman, so that she might not have to lay down her burden. The gnawl water acted
like magic - it seemed to replenish all the cells of his body as though they had been
thirsty sponge pores, sucking up liquid. Tydomin recovered her self- possession.
About three-quarters of an hour later they worked around the second corner, and entered
into full view of the north aspect of Disscourn.
A hundred yards lower down the slope on which they were walking, the mountain ended
abruptly in a chasm. The air above it was filled with a sort of green haze, which trembled
violently like the atmosphere immediately over a furnace.