A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version
He felt a soft, cool touch on the back of his neck. He started forward in nervous fright
and, in doing so, tumbled over onto the sand. Looking up over his shoulder quickly, he
was astounded to see a woman standing beside him.
She was clothed in a single flowing, pale green garment, rather classically draped.
According to earth standards she was not beautiful, for, although her face was otherwise
human, she was endowed - or afflicted - with the additional disfiguring organs that
Maskull had discovered in himself. She also possessed the heart tentacle. But when he sat
up, and their eyes met and remained in sympathetic contact, he seemed to see right into a
soul that was the home of love, warmth, kindness, tenderness, and intimacy. Such was the
noble familiarity of that gaze, that he thought he knew her. After that, he recognised all
the loveliness of her person. She was tall and slight. All her movements were as graceful
as music. Her skin was not of a dead, opaque colour, like that of an earth beauty, but was
opalescent; its hue was continually changing, with every thought and emotion, but none
of these tints was vivid - all were delicate, half - toned, and poetic. She had very long,
loosely plaited, flaxen hair. The new organs, as soon as Maskull had familiarised himself
with them, imparted something to her face that was unique and striking. He could not
quite define it to himself, but subtlety and inwardness seemed added. The organs did not
contradict the love of her eyes or the angelic purity of her features, but nevertheless
sounded a deeper note - a note that saved her from mere girlishness.
Her gaze was so friendly and unembarrassed that Maskull felt scarcely any humiliation at
sitting at her feet, naked and helpless. She realised his plight, and put into his hands a
garment that she had been carrying over her arm. It was similar to the one she was
wearing, but of a darker, more masculine colour.
"Do you think you can put it on by yourself?"
He was distinctly conscious of these words, yet her voice had not sounded.
He forced himself up to his feet, and she helped him to master the complications of the
"Poor man - how you are suffering!" she said, in the same inaudible language. This time
he discovered that the sense of what she said was received by his brain through the organ
on his forehead.
"Where am I? Is this Tormance?" he asked. As he spoke, he staggered.
She caught him, and helped him to sit down. "Yes. You are with friends."
Then she regarded him with a smile, and began speaking aloud, in English. Her voice
somehow reminded him of an April day, it was so fresh, nervous, and girlish. "I can now
understand your language. It was strange at first. in the future I'll speak to you with my