Jul 23, 2005

This person, whatever the name or sex, was dressed entirely in oyster-coloured velvet,

trimmed with some unfamiliar greenish-coloured fur. But these details were obscured by the extraordinary seductiveness which issued from the whole person. Images, metaphors of the most extreme and extravagant twined and twisted in his mind. He called her a melon, a pineapple, an olive tree, an emerald, and a fox in the snow all in the space of three seconds; he did not know whether he had heard her, tasted her, seen her, or all three together. - so he raved, so he stared. When the boy, for alas, a boy it must be - no woman could skate with such speed and vigour - swept almost on tiptoe past him, Orlando was ready to tear his hair with vexation that the person was of his own sex, and thus all embraces were out of the question. ... Finally, coming to a stop and sweeping a curtsey with the utmost grace to the king, who was shuffling past on the arm of some Lord-in-waiting, the unknown skater came to a standstill. She was not a handsbreadth off. She was a woman. Orlando stared; trembled; turned hot; turned cold; longed to hurl himself through the summer air; to crush acorns beneath his feet; to toss his arm with the beech trees and the oaks. As it was, he drew his lips over his small white teeth; opened them perhaps half an inch as if to bite; shut them as if he had bitten.


Virginia Woolf - Orlando.

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