A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version
Muremaker. It was under horrible circumstances. On an afternoon, cloudy and stormy, I
saw, suspended in the air without visible support, a living man. He was hanging in an
upright position in front of a cliff - a yawning gulf, a thousand feet deep, lay beneath his
feet. I climbed as near as I could, and looked on. He saw me, and made a wry grimace,
like one who wishes to turn his humiliation into humour. The spectacle so astounded me
that I could not even grasp what had happened.
"'I am Muremaker," he cried in a scraping voice which shocked my ears. 'All my life I
have sorbed others - now I am sorbed. Nuclamp and I fell out over a woman. Now
Nuclamp holds me up like this. While the strength of his will lasts I shall remain
suspended; but when he gets tired - and it can't be long now - I drop into those depths.'
"Had it been another man, I would have tried to save him, but this ogre - like being was
too well known to me as one who passed his whole existence in tormenting, murdering,
and absorbing others, for the sake of his own delight. I hurried away, and did not pause
again that day.
"In Poolingdred I met Joiwind. We walked and talked together for a month, and by that
time we found that we loved each other too well to part."
Panawe stopped speaking.
"That is a fascinating story," remarked Maskull. "Now I begin to know my way around
better. But one thing puzzles me."
"How it happens that men here are ignorant of tools and arts, and have no civilisation,
and yet contrive to be social in their habits and wise in their thoughts."
"Do you imagine, then, that love and wisdom spring from tools? But I see how it arises.
In your world you have fewer sense organs, and to make up for the deficiency you have
been obliged to call in the assistance of stones and metals. That's by no means a sign of
"No, I suppose not," said Maskull, "but I see I have a great deal to unlearn."
They talked together a little longer, and then gradually fell asleep. Joiwind opened her
eyes, smiled, and slumbered again.