A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version

Chapter 7. Panawe
The husband got up to meet his wife and their guest. He was clothed in white. He had a
beardless face, with breve and poigns. His skin, on face and body alike, was so white,
fresh, and soft, that it scarcely looked skin at all - it rather resembled a new kind of pure,
snowy flesh, extending right down to his bones. It had nothing in common with the
artificially whitened skin of an over-civilised woman. Its whiteness and delicacy aroused
no voluptuous thoughts; it was obviously the manifestation of a cold and almost cruel
chastity of nature. His hair, which fell to the nape of his neck, also was white; but again,
from vigour, not decay. His eyes were black, quiet and fathomless. He was still a young
man, but so stern were his features that he had the appearance of a lawgiver, and this in
spite of their great beauty and harmony.
His magn and Joiwind's intertwined for a single moment and Maskull saw his face soften
with love, while she looked exultant. She put him in her husband's arms with gentle
force, and stood back, gazing and smiling. Maskull felt rather embarrassed at being
embraced by a man, but submitted to it; a sense of cool, pleasant languor passed through
him in the act.
"The stranger is red - blooded, then?"
He was startled by Panawe's speaking in English, and the voice too was extraordinary. It
was absolutely tranquil, but its tranquillity seemed in a curious fashion to be an illusion,
proceeding from a rapidity of thoughts and feelings so great that their motion could not
be detected. How this could be, he did not know.
"How do you come to speak in a tongue you have never heard before?" demanded
"Thought is a rich, complex thing. I can't say if I am really speaking your tongue by
instinct, or if you yourself are translating my thoughts into your tongue as I utter them."
"Already you see that Panawe is wiser than I am," said Joiwind gaily.
"What is your name?" asked the husband.
"That name must have a meaning - but again, thought is a strange thing. I connect that
name with something - but with what?"
"Try to discover," said Joiwind.
"Has there been a man in your world who stole something from the Maker of the,
universe, in order to ennoble his fellow creatures?"