‘Perfect,’ he said aloud. And inwardly, ‘She thinks of herself that way. She doesn’t mind being meat.’
Lenina smiled triumphantly. But her satisfaction was premature.
‘All the same,’ he went on, after a little pause, ‘I still rather wish it had all ended differently.’
‘Differently?’ Were there other endings?
‘I didn’t want it to end with our going to bed,’ he specified.
Lenina was astonished.
‘Not at once, not the first day.’
‘But then what . . . ?’
He began to talk a lot of incomprehensible and dangerous nonsense. Lenina did her best to stop the ears of her mind; but every now and then a phrase would insist on becoming audible. ‘. . . to try the effect of arresting my impulses,’ she heard him say. The words seemed to touch a spring in her mind.
‘Never put off till to-morrow the fun you can have to-day,’ she said gravely.
‘Two hundred repetitions, twice a week from fourteen to sixteen and a half,’ was all his comment. The mad bad talk rambled on. ‘I want to know what passion is,’ she heard him saying. ‘I want to feel something strongly.’
‘When the individual feels, the community reels,’ Lenina pronounced.
‘Well, why shouldn’t it reel a bit?’
But Bernard remained unabashed.
‘Adults intellectually and during working hours,’ he went on. ‘Infants where feeling and desire are concerned.’
‘Our Ford loved infants.’
Ignoring the interruption, ‘It suddenly struck me the other day,’ continued Bernard, ‘that it might be possible to be an adult all the time.’
‘I don’t understand.’ Lenina’s tone was firm.
‘I know you don’t. And that’s why we went to bed together yesterday – like infants – instead of being adults and waiting.’
‘But it was fun,’ Lenina insisted, ‘Wasn’t it?’
‘Oh, the greatest fun,’ he answered, but in a voice so mournful, with an expression so profoundly miserable, that Lenina felt all her triumph suddenly evaporate. Perhaps he had found her too plump, after all.
‘I told you so,’ was all that Fanny said, when Lenina came and made her confidences. ‘It’s the alcohol they put in his surrogate.’
‘All the same,’ Lenina insisted, ‘I do like him. He has such awfully nice hands. And the way he moves his shoulders – that’s very attractive.’ She sighed. ‘But I wish he weren’t so odd.’