A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version

The forest at that point sloped rather steeply and, without thinking twice about it, he took
the downhill direction, never doubting it would bring him somewhere. As soon as he
started walking, his temper became gloomy and morose - he was shaken, tired, dirty, and
languid with hunger; moreover, he realised that the walk was not going to be a short one.
Be that as it may. he determined to sit down no more until the whole dismal forest was at
his back.
One after another the shadowy, houselike trees were observed, avoided, and passed. Far
overhead the little patch of glowing sky was still always visible; otherwise he had no clue
to the time of day. He continued tramping sullenly down the slope for many damp,
slippery miles - in some places through bogs. When, presently, the twilight seemed to
thin, he guessed that the open world was not far away. The forest grew more palpable and
grey, and now he saw its majesty better. The tree trunks were like round towers, and so
wide were the intervals that they resembled natural amphitheatres. He could not make out
the colour of the bark. Everything he saw amazed him, but his admiration was of the
growling, grudging kind. The difference in light between the forest behind him and the
forest ahead became so marked that he could no longer doubt that he was on the point of
coming out.
Real light was in front of him; looking back, he found he had a shadow. The trunks
acquired a reddish tint. He quickened his pace. As the minutes went by, the bright patch
ahead grew luminous and vivid; it had a tinge of blue. He also imagined that he heard the
sound of surf.
All that part of the forest toward which he was moving became rich with colour. The
boles of the trees were of a deep, dark red; their leaves, high above his head, were ulfire-
hued; the dead leaves on the ground were of a colour he could not name. At the same
time he discovered the use of his third eye. By adding a third angle to his sight, every
object he looked at stood out in greater relief. The world looked less flat - more realistic
and significant. He had a stronger attraction toward his surroundings; he seemed
somehow to lose his egotism, and to become free and thoughtful.
Now through the last trees he saw full daylight. Less than half a mile separated him from
the border of the forest, and, eager to discover what lay beyond, he broke into a run. He
heard the surf louder. It was a peculiar hissing sound that could proceed only from water,
yet was unlike the sea. Almost immediately he came within sight of an enormous horizon
of dancing waves, which he knew must be the Sinking Sea. He fell back into a quick
walk, continuing to stare hard. The wind that met him was hot, fresh and sweet
When he arrived at the final fringe of forest, which joined the wide sands of the shore
without any change of level, he leaned with his back to a great tree and gazed his fill,
motionless, at what lay in front of him. The sands continued east and west in a straight
line, broken only here and there by a few creeks. They were of a brilliant orange colour,
but there were patches of violet. The forest appeared to stand sentinel over the shore for
its entire length. Everything else was sea and sky - he had never seen so much water. The
semicircle of the skyline was so vast that he might have imagined himself on a flat world,