The Voice in the Fog (Chapter 2, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 2

Daniel Killigrew, of Killigrew and Company (sugar, coffee and spices),
was in a towering rage; at least, he towered one inch above his normal
height, which was five feet six. Like an animal recently taken in
captivity he trotted back and forth through the corridors, in and out
of the office, to and from the several entrances, blowing the while
like a grampus. All he could get out of these infernally stupid beings
was "Really, sir!" He couldn't get a cab, he couldn't get a motor, he
couldn't get anything. Manager, head-clerk, porter, doorman and page,
he told them, one and all, what a dotty old spoof of a country they
lived in; that they were all dead-alive persons, fit to be neither
under nor above earth; that they wouldn't be one-two in a race with
January molasses--"Treacle, I believe you call it here!" And what did
they say to this scathing arraignment? Yes, what did they say?
"Really, sir!" He knew and hoped it would happen: if ever Germany
started war, it would be over before these Britishers made up their
minds that there was a war. A hundred years ago they had beaten
Napoleon (with the assistance of Spain, Austria, Germany and Russia),
and were now resting.

Quarter to one, and neither wife nor daughter; outside there, somewhere
in the fog; and he could not go to them. It was maddening. Molly
might be arrested and Kitty lost. Served him right; he should have put
his foot down. The idea of Molly being allowed to go with those
rattle-pated women! Suffragettes! A "Bah!" exploded with a loud
report. Hereafter he would show who voted in the Killigrew family.
Poor man! He was made of that unhappy mental timber which agrees
thoughtlessly to a proposition for the sake of peace and then regrets
it in the name of war. His wife and daughter twisted him round their
little fingers and then hunted cover when he found out what they had
done.

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