- 页码：第181页 2014-05-10 12:00:20
"The colors. So many colors." His eyes were tightly closed, his forehead resting on the bowed edge of one hand. "The trees outside the head shaman's house have spider monkeys which are iridescent. They change color in the sunlight. Everything changes. The mountains, the lowlands are never the same color from one hour to the next. No sequence of colors is the same from day to day. As if you lived inside a madman's kaleidoscope. Even your dreams become flooded with colors, with shapes no Occidental ever saw. Not real shapes, not meaningful ones. Simply random, the way clouds change over a Yorkshire landscape." She was taken by surprise: her laugh was high and brittle. He hadn't heard. "They stay with you," he went on, "they aren't fleecy lambs or jagged profiles. They are, they are Vheissu, its raiment, perhaps its skin." "And beneath?" "You mean soul don't you. Of course you do. I wondered about the soul of that place. If it had a soul. Because their music, poetry, laws and ceremonies come no closer. They are skin too. Like the skin of a tattooed savage. I often put it that way to myself -- like a woman. I hope I don't offend." "It's all right." "Civilians have curious ideas about the military, but I expect in this case there's some justice to what they think about us. This idea of the randy young subaltern somewhere out in the back of beyond, collecting himself a harem of dusky native women. I dare say a lot of us have this dream, though I've yet to run across anyone who's realized it. And I won't deny I get to thinking this way myself. I got to thinking that way in Vheissu. Somehow, there --" his forehead furrowed -- "dreams are not, not closer the waking world, but somehow, Ii think, they do seem more real. Am I making sense to you?" "Go on." She was watching him, rapt. "But as if the place were, were a woman you had found somewhere out there, a dark woman tattooed from head to toes, And somehow you had got separated from the garrison and found yourself unable to get back, so that you had to be with her, close to her, day in and day out..." "And you would be in love with her." "At first. But soon that skin, the gaudy godawful riot of pattern and color, would begin to get between you and whatever it was in her that you thought you loved. And soon, in perhaps only a matter of days, it would get so bad that you would begin praying to whatever god you knew of to send some leprosy to her. To flay that tattoing to a heap of red, purple and green debris, leave the veins and ligaments raw and quivering and open at last to your eyes and your touch. I'm sorry."
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