A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version
Chapter 15. Swalone's Island
When he awoke, the day was not so bright, and he guessed it was late afternoon. Polecrab
and his wife were both on their feet, and another meal of fish had been cooked and was
waiting for him.
"Is it decided who is to go with me?" he asked, before sitting down.
"I go," said Gleameil.
"Do you agree, Polecrab?"
The fisherman growled a little in his throat and motioned to the others to take their seats.
He took a mouthful before answering.
"Something strong is attracting her, and I can't hold her back. I don't think I shall see you
again, wife, but the lads are now nearly old enough to fend for themselves."
"Don't take dejected views," replied Gleameil sternly. She was not eating. "I shall come
back, and make amends to you. It's only for a night."
Maskull gazed from one to the other in perplexity. "Let me go alone. I would be sorry if
Gleameil shook her head.
"Don't regard this as a woman's caprice," she said. "Even if you hadn't passed this way, I
would have heard that music soon. I have a hunger for it."
"Haven't you any such feeling, Polecrab?"
"No. A woman is a noble and sensitive creature, and there are attractions in nature too
subtle for males. Take her with you, since she is set on it. Maybe she's right. Perhaps
Earthrid's music will answer your questions, and hers too."
"What are your questions, Gleameil?"
The woman shed a strange smile. "You may be sure that a question which requires music
for an answer can't be put into words."
"If you are not back by the morning," remarked her husband, "I will know you are dead."
The meal was finished in a constrained silence. Polecrab wiped his mouth, and produced
a seashell from a kind of pocket.