Page:The Voyage Out.djvu/186

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

"Ah, the creatures begin to stir…." He watched them raise themselves, look about them, and settle down again. "What I abhor most of all," he concluded, "is the female breast. Imagine being Venning and having to get into bed with Susan! But the really repulsive thing is that they feel nothing at all—about what I do when I have a hot bath. They're gross, they're absurd, they're utterly intolerable!"

So saying, and drawing no reply from Hewet, he proceeded to think about himself, about science, about Cambridge, about the Bar, about Helen and what she thought of him, until, being very tired, he was nodding off to sleep.

Suddenly Hewet woke him up.

"How d'you know what you feel, Hirst?"

"Are you in love?" asked Hirst. He put in his eyeglass.

"Don't be a fool," said Hewet.

"Well, I'll sit down and think about it," said Hirst. "One really ought to. If these people would only think about things, the world would be a far better place for us all to live in. Are you trying to think?"

That was exactly what Hewet had been doing for the last half-hour, but he did not find Hirst sympathetic at the moment.

"I shall go for a walk," he said.

"Remember we weren't in bad last night," said Hirst with a prodigious yawn.

Hewet rose and stretched himself.

"I want to go and get a breath of air," he said.

An unusual feeling had been bothering him all the evening and forbidding him to settle into any one train of thought. It was precisely as if he had been in the middle of a talk which interested him profoundly when some one came up and interrupted him. He could not finish the talk, and the longer he sat there the more he wanted to finish it. As the talk that had been interrupted was a talk with Rachel, he had to ask himself why he felt this, and why he wanted to go on talking to her. Hirst would merely say that he was in love with her. But he was not in love with her. Did love begin in that way, with the wish to go on talking? No. It always began in his case with definite physical sensations, and these were now ab-