Full text: The waves

THE WAVES 
back like the wings of a small butterfly. And as she stares 
at the chalk figures, her mind lodges in those white circles ; 
it steps through those white loops into emptiness, alone. 
They have no meaning for her. She has no answer for them. 
She has no body as the others have. And I, who speak with 
an Australian accent, whose father is a banker in Brisbane, 
do not fear her as I fear the others.” 
“Let us now crawl,” said Bernard, “ under the canopy 
of the currant leaves, and tell stories. Let us inhabit the 
underworld. Let us take possession of our secret territory, 
which is lit by pendant currants like candelabra, shining red 
on one side, black on the other. Here, Jinny, if we curl 
up close, we can sit under the canopy of the currant leaves 
and watch the censers swing. This is our universe. The 
others pass down the carriage-drive. The skirts of Miss 
Hudson and Miss Curry sweep by like candle extinguishers. 
Those are Susan’s white socks. Those are Louis’ neat 
sand-shoes firmly printing the gravel. Here come warm 
gusts of decomposing leaves, of rotting vegetation. We are 
in a swamp now ; in a malarial jungle. There is an elephant 
white with maggots, killed by an arrow shot dead in its eye. 
The bright eyes of hopping birds—eagles, vultures—are 
apparent. They take us for fallen trees. They pick at a 
worm—that is a hooded cobra—and leave it with a festering 
brown scar to be mauled by lions. This is our world, lit 
with crescents and stars of light; and great petals half 
transparent block the openings like purple windows. Every- 
thing is strange. Things are huge and very small. The 
stalks of flowers are thick as oak trees. Leaves are high 
as the domes of vast cathedrals. We are giants, lying here, 
who can make forests quiver.” 
“’This is here,” said Jinny, “ this is now. But soon we 
shall go. Soon Miss Curry will blow her whistle. We shall 
walk. We shall part. You will go to school. You will 
have masters wearing crosses with white ties. I shall have 
a mistress in a school on the East Coast who sits under a 
portrait of Queen Alexandra. That is where I am going, 
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