A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version
Chapter 9. Oceaxe
Maskull's second day on Tormance dawned. Branchspell was already above the horizon
when he awoke. He was instantly aware that his organs had changed during the night. His
fleshy breve was altered into an eyelike sorb; his magn had swelled and developed into a
third arm, springing from the breast. The arm gave him at once a sense of greater physical
security, but with the sorb he was obliged to experiment, before he could grasp its
As he lay there in the white sunlight, opening and shutting each of his three eyes in turn,
he found that the two lower ones served his understanding, the upper one his will. That is
to say, with the lower eyes he saw things in clear detail, but without personal interest;
with the sorb he saw nothing as self - existent - everything appeared as an object of
importance or non - importance to his own needs.
Rather puzzled as to how this would turn out, he got up and looked about him. He had
slept out of sight of Oceaxe. He was anxious to learn if she were still on the spot, but
before going to ascertain he made up his mind to bathe in the river.
It was a glorious morning. The hot white sun already began to glare, but its heat was
tempered by a strong wind, which whistled through the trees. A host of fantastic clouds
filled the sky. They looked like animals, and were always changing shape. The ground, as
well as the leaves and branches of the forest trees, still held traces of heavy dew or rain
during the night. A poignantly sweet smell of nature entered his nostrils. His pain was
quiescent, and his spirits were high.
Before he bathed, he viewed the mountains of the Ifdawn Marest. In the morning sunlight
they stood out pictorially. He guessed that they were from five to six thousand feet high.
The lofty, irregular, castellated line seemed like the walls of a magic city. The cliffs
fronting him were composed of gaudy rocks - vermilion, emerald, yellow, ulfire, and
black. As he gazed at them, his heart began to beat like a slow, heavy drum, and he
thrilled all over - indescribable hopes, aspirations, and emotions came over him. It was
more than the conquest of a new world which he felt - it was something different....
He bathed and drank, and as he was reclothing himself, Oceaxe strolled indolently up.
He could now perceive the colour of her skin - it was a vivid, yet delicate mixture of
carmine, white, and jale. The effect was startlingly unearthly. With these new colors she
looked like a genuine representative of a strange planet. Her frame also had something
curious about it. The curves were womanly, the bones were characteristically female - yet
all seemed somehow to express a daring, masculine underlying will. The commanding
eye on her forehead set the same puzzle in plainer language. Its bold, domineering
egotism was shot with undergleams of sex and softness.