Full text: The waves

damp now, now dry. He leaves me in the lurch; he 
follows Susan; and if Susan cries he will take my knife 
and tell her stories. The big blade is an emperor; the 
broken blade a Negro. I hate dangling things; I hate 
dampish things. I hate wandering and mixing things 
together. Now the bell rings and we shall be late. 
Now we must drop our toys. Now we must go in 
together. The copy-books are laid out side by side on the 
green baize table.” 
“1 will not conjugate the verb,” said Louis, ‘ until 
Bernard has said it. My father is a banker in Brisbane and 
I speak with an Australian accent. I will wait and copy 
Bernard. He is English. They are all English. Susan’s 
father is a clergyman. Rhoda has no father. Bernard and 
Neville are the sons of gentlemen. Jinny lives with her 
grandmother in London. Now they suck their pens. Now 
they twist their copy-books, and, looking sideways at Miss 
Hudson, count the purple buttons on her bodice. Bernard 
has a chip in his hair. Susan has a red look in her eyes. 
Both ate flushed. But Iam pale; Iam neat, and my knicker- 
bockers are drawn together by a belt with a brass snake. 
I know the lesson by heart. I know more than they will 
ever know. I know my cases and my genders; I could 
know everything in the world if I wished. But I do not 
wish to come to the top and say my lesson. My roots are 
threaded, like fibres in a flower-pot, round and round about 
the world. I do not wish to come to the top and live in 
the light of this great clock, yellow-faced, which ticks and 
ticks. Jinny and Susan, Bernard and Neville bind them- 
selves into a thong with which to lash me. They laugh at 
my neatness, at my Australian accent. I will pow try to 
imitate Bernard softly lisping Latin.” 
“ Those are white words,” said Susan, “like stones one 
picks up by the seashore.” 
“ They flick their tails right and left as I speak them,” 
said Bernard. “ They wag their tails ; they flick their tails ; 
they move through the air in flocks, now this way, now that 
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