Full text: The waves

THE WAVES 3 
and drinking and rubbing my eyes along surfaces that thin, 
hard shell which cases the soul, which, in youth, shuts one 
in—hence the fierceness, and the tap, tap, tap of the remorse- 
less beaks of the young. And now I ask, * Who am?’ 1 
have been talking of Bernard, Neville, Jinny, Susan, Rhoda 
and Louis. Am I all of them? Am I one and distinct? 1 
do not know. We sat here together. But now Percival is 
dead, and Rhoda is dead ; we are divided ; we are not here. 
Yet I cannot find any obstacle separating us. There is no 
division between me and them. As talked I felt ‘Iam you. 
This difference we make so much of, this identity we so 
feverishly cherish, was overcome. Yes, ever since old 
Mrs. Constable lifted her sponge and pouring warm water 
over me covered me with flesh I have been sensitive, per- 
cipient. Here on my brow is the blow I got when Percival 
fell Here on the nape of my neck is the kiss Jinny gave 
Louis. My eyes fill with Susan’s tears. 1 see far away, quiver- 
ing like a gold thread, the pillar Rhoda saw, and feel the rush 
of the wind of her flight when she leapt. 
“ Thus when I come to shape here at this table between 
my hands the story of my life and set it before you as a 
complete thing, I have to recall things gone far, gone deep, 
sunk into this life or that and become part of it ; dreams, too, 
things surrounding me, and the inmates, those old half- 
articulate ghosts who keep up their hauntings by day and 
night ; who turn over in their sleep, who utter their confused 
cries, who put out their phantom fingers and clutch at me 
as I try to escape—shadows of people one might have been ; 
unborn selves. There is the old brute, too, the savage, the 
hairy man who dabbles his fingers in ropes of entrails ; and 
gobbles and belches ; whose speech is guttural, visceral— 
well, he is here. He squats in me. To-night he has been 
feasted on quails, salad, and sweetbread. He now holds 2 
glass. of fine old brandy in his paw. He brindles, purrs and 
shoots warm thrills all down my spine as I sip. It is true, he 
washes his hands before dinner, but they are still hairy. He 
buttons on trousers and waistcoats, but they contain the 
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