Brave New World Page 64

At the sight of the young woman, the Savage started, recoiled, turned pale.

The young woman stood, smiling at him-an uncertain, imploring, almost abject smile. The seconds passed. Her lips moved, she was saying something;but the sound of her voice was covered by the loud reiterated refrain of the sightseers.

’’We-want-the whip! We-want-the whip!’’

The young woman pressed both hands to her left side, and on that peach-bright, doll-beautiful face of hers appeared a strangely incongruous expression of yearning distress. Her blue eyes seemed to grow larger, brighter;and suddenly two tears rolled down her cheeks.

Inaudibly, she spoke again;then, with a quick, impassioned gesture stretched out her arms towards the Savage, stepped forward.

’’We-want-the whip! We-want ...’’

And all of a sudden they had what they wanted.

’’Strumpet!’’ The Savage had rushed at her like a madman. ’’Fitchew!’’ Like a madman, he was slashing at her with his whip of small cords.

Terrified, she had turned to flee, had tripped and fallen in the heather. ’’Henry, Henry!’’ she shouted. But her ruddyfaced companion had bolted out of harm's way behind the helicopter.

With a whoop of delighted excitement the line broke;there was a convergent stampede towards that magnetic centre of attraction. Pain was a fascinating horror.

’’Fry, lechery, fry!’’ Frenzied, the Savage slashed again. Hungrily they gathered round, pushing and scrambling like swine about the trough.

’’Oh, the flesh!’’ The Savage ground his teeth. This time it was on his shoulders that the whip descended. ’’Kill it, kill it!’’

Drawn by the fascination of the horror of pain and, from within, impelled by that habit of cooperation, that desire for unanimity and atonement, which their conditioning had so ineradicably implanted in them, they began to mime the frenzy of his gestures, striking at one another as the Savage struck at his own rebellious flesh, or at that plump incarnation of turpitude writhing in the heather at his feet.

’’Kill it, kill it, kill it ...’’ The Savage went on shouting. Then suddenly somebody started singing ’’Orgy-porgy’’ and, in a moment, they had all caught up the refrain and, singing, had begun to dance. Orgy-porgy, round and round and round, beating one another in six-eight time. Orgy-porgy ...

It was after midnight when the last of the helicopters took its flight. Stupefied by soma, and exhausted by a long-drawn frenzy of sensuality, the Savage lay sleeping in the heather. The sun was already high when he awoke. He lay for a moment, blinking in owlish incomprehension at the light;then suddenly remembered-everything.

’’Oh, my God, my God!’’ He covered his eyes with his hand.

That evening the swarm of helicopters that came buzzing across the Hog's Back was a dark cloud ten kilometres long. The description of last night's orgy of atonement had been in all the papers.

’’Savage!’’ called the first arrivals, as they alighted from their machine. ’’Mr. Savage!’’

There was no answer.

The door of the lighthouse was ajar. They pushed it open and walked into a shuttered twilight. Through an archway on the further side of the room they could see the bottom of the staircase that led up to the higher floors. Just under the crown of the arch dangled a pair of feet.

’’Mr. Savage!’’

Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right;north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south-west;then paused, and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, east. ...


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