the dripping patchouli was more than scentwas the sun, was a million sexophones, was Popé making love, only much more so, incomparably more, and without end.
No, we cant rejuvenate. But Im very glad, Dr. Shaw had concluded, to have had this opportunity to see an example of senility in a human being. Thank you so much for calling me in. He shook Bernard warmly by the hand.
It was John, then, they were all after. And as it was only through Bernard, his accredited guardian, that John could be seen, Bernard now found himself, for the first time in his life, treated not merely normally, but as a person of outstanding importance. There was no more talk of the alcohol in his blood-surrogate, no gibes at his personal appearance. Henry Foster went out of his way to be friendly; Benito Hoover made him a present of six packets of sex-hormone chewing-gum; the Assistant Predestinator came and cadged almost abjectly for an invitation to one of Bernards evening parties. As for the women, Bernard had only to hint at the possibility of an invitation, and he could have whichever of them he liked.
Bernards asked me to meet the Savage next Wednesday, Fanny announced triumphantly.
Im so glad, said Lenina. And now you must admit that you were wrong about Bernard. Dont you think hes really rather sweet?
Fanny nodded. And I must say, she said, I was quite agreeably surprised.
The Chief Bottler, the Director of Predestination, three Deputy Assistant Fertilizer-Generals, the Professor of Feelies in the College of Emotional Engineering, the Dean of the Westminster Community Singery, the Supervisor of Bokanovskificationthe list of Bernards notabilities was interminable.
And I had six girls last week, he confided to Helmholtz Watson. One on Monday, two on Tuesday, two more on Friday, and one on Saturday. And if Id had the time or the inclination, there were at least a dozen more who were only too anxious
Helmholtz listened to his boastings in a silence so gloomily disapproving that Bernard was offended.
Youre envious, he said.
Helmholtz shook his head. Im rather sad, thats all, he answered.
Bernard went off in a huff. Never, he told himself, never would he speak to Helmholtz again.
The days passed. Success went fizzily to Bernards head, and in the process completely reconciled him (as any good intoxicant should do) to a world which, up till then, he had found very unsatisfactory. In so far as it recognized him as important, the order of things was good. But, reconciled by his success, he yet refused to forgo the privilege of criticizing this order. For the act of criticizing heightened his sense of importance, made him feel larger. Moreover, he did genuinely believe that there were things to criticize. (At the same time, he genuinely liked being a success and having all the girls he wanted.) Before those who now, for the sake of the Savage, paid their court to him, Bernard would parade a carping unorthodoxy. He was politely listened to. But behind his back people shook their heads. That young man will come to a bad end, they said, prophesying the more confidently in that they themselves would in due course personally see to it that the end was bad. He wont find another Savage to help him out a second time, they said. Meanwhile, however, there was the first Savage; they were polite. And because they were polite, Bernard felt positively giganticgigantic and at the same time light with elation, lighter than air.
Lighter than air, said Bernard, pointing upwards.
Like a pearl in the sky, high, high above them, the Weather Departments captive balloon shone rosily in the sunshine.
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