High upon a rock, poised like a bird for flight, stark naked, his satin
skin shining like gold and silver in the rising sun, stood a youth,
tall, slim of body, not fully developed but with muscles promising, in
their faultless, gently swelling outline, strength and suppleness to an
unusual degree. Gazing down into the pool formed by an eddy of the river
twenty feet below him, he stood as if calculating the distance, his
profile turned toward the man who had just emerged from the bushes and
was standing on the sandy strand of the river, paddle in hand, looking
up at him with an expression of wonder and delight in his eyes.
"Ye gods, what a picture!" said the man to himself.
Noiselessly, as if fearing to send the youth off in flight, he laid his
paddle on the sand, hurriedly felt in his pockets, and swore to himself
vigorously when he could find no sketch book there.
"What a pose! What an Apollo!" he muttered.
The sunlight glistening on the beautiful white skin lay like pools of
gold in the curving hollows of the perfectly modelled body, and ran like
silver over the rounded swellings of the limbs. Instinct with life he
seemed, something in his pose suggesting that he had either alighted
from the golden, ambient air, or was about to commit himself to it. The
man on the sand continued to gaze as if he were beholding a creature of
"Oh, Lord! What lines!" he breathed.
Slowly the youth began to move his arms up to the horizontal, then to
the perpendicular, reaching to the utmost of his height upon his toe
tips, breathing deep the while. Smoothly, slowly, the muscles in legs
and thighs, in back, in abdomen, in chest, responding to the exercise
moved under the lustrous skin as if themselves were living things. Over
and over again the action was repeated, the muscles and body moving in
rhythmic harmony like some perfect mechanism running in a bath of oil.
"Ye gods of Greece!" breathed the man. "What is this thing I see? Flesh
or spirit? Man or god?" Again he swore at himself for neglecting to
bring his sketch book and pencil.
"Hello, father! Where are you?" A girl's voice rang out, high, clear,
and near at hand.