Page:The Voyage Out.djvu/111

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"Meaning? Oh, something about bubbles—auras—what d'you call 'em? You can't see my bubble; I can't see yours; all we see of each other is a speck, like the wick in the middle of that flame. The flame goes about with us everywhere; it's not ourselves exactly, but what we feel; the world is short, or people mainly; all kinds of people."

"A nice streaky bubble yours must be!" said Hirst.

"And supposing my bubble could run into some one else's bubble——"

"And they both burst?" put in Hirst.

"Then—then—then—" pondered Hewet, as if to himself, "it would be an e—nor—mous world," he said, stretching his arms to their full width, as though even so they could hardly clasp the billowy universe, for when he was with Hirst he always felt unusually sanguine and vague.

"I don't think you altogether as foolish as I used to, Hewet," said Hirst. "You don't know what you mean but you try to say it."

"But aren't you enjoying yourself here?" asked Hewet.

"On the whole—yes," said Hirst. "I like observing people. I like looking at things. This country is amazingly beautiful. Did you notice how the top of the mountain turned yellow tonight? Really we must take our lunch and spend the day out. You're getting disgustingly fat." He pointed at the calf of Hewet's bare leg.

"We'll get up an expedition," said Hewet energetically. "We'll ask the entire hotel. We'll hire donkeys and——"

"Oh, Lord!" said Hirst, "do shut it! I can see Miss Warrington and Miss Allan and Mrs. Elliot and the rest squatting on the stones and quacking, 'How jolly!'"

"We'll ask Venning and Perrott and Miss Murgatroyd—every one we can lay hands on," went on Hewet. "What's the name of the little old grasshopper with the eyeglasses? Pepper?—Pepper shall lead us."

"Thank God, you'll never get the donkeys," said Hirst.

"I must make a note of that," said Hewet, slowly dropping his feet to the floor. "Hirst escorts Miss Warrington; Pepper advances alone on a white ass; provisions equally distributed—