The Voice in the Fog (Chapter 1, page 1 of 9)


 
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Chapter 1

Fog.

A London fog, solid, substantial, yellow as an old dog's tooth or a
jaundiced eye. You could not look through it, nor yet gaze up and down
it, nor over it; and you only thought you saw it. The eye became
impotent, untrustworthy; all senses lay fallow except that of touch;
the skin alone conveyed to you with promptness and no incertitude that
this thing had substance. You could feel it; you could open and shut
your hands and sense it on your palms, and it penetrated your clothes
and beaded your spectacles and rings and bracelets and shoe-buckles.
It was nightmare, bereft of its pillows, grown somnambulistic; and
London became the antechamber to Hades, lackeyed by idle dreams and
peopled by mistakes.

There is something about this species of fog unlike any other in the
world. It sticks. You will find certain English cousins of yours, as
far away from London as Hong-Kong, who are still wrapt up snugly in it.
Happy he afflicted with strabismus, for only he can see his nose before
his face. In the daytime you become a fish, to wriggle over the
ocean's floor amid strange flora and fauna, such as ash-cans and
lamp-posts and venders' carts and cab-horses and sandwich-men. But at
night you are neither fish, bird nor beast.

The night was May thirteenth; never mind the year; the date should
suffice: and a Walpurgis night, if you please, without any Mendelssohn
to interpret it.

 
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