The Voice in the Fog (Chapter 4, page 1 of 5)


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Chapter 4

Iambic and hexameter, farewell! In that moment the poet died in
Thomas; I mean, the poet who had to dig his expressions of life out of
ink-pots. Things boil up quickly and unexpectedly in the soul;
century-old impulses, undreamed of by the inheritor; and when these
bubble and spill over the kettle's lip, watch out. There is an island
in the South Seas where small mud-geysers burst forth under the
pressure of the foot. Fate had stepped on Thomas.

As he sprang out of his bunk he was a reversion: the outlaw in
Lincoln-green, the Yeoman of the Guard, the bandannaed smuggler of the
southeast coast. Quickly he got into his uniform. He went about this
affair the right way, with foresight and prudence; for he realized that
he must act instantly. He sought the purser, who was cordial.

"I'm not feeling well," began Thomas; "and the doctor is ashore.
Where's there an apothecary's shop?"

"Two blocks straight out from the pier entrance. You'll see red and
blue lights in the windows. Tummy?"

"I'm subject to dizzy spells. Where's Jameson?" Jameson was the surly
cabin-mate.

"Quit. Gone over to the Cunard. Fool. Like a little money advanced?
Here's a bill, five dollars."

"Thank you, sir." Twenty shillings, ten pence. "Doesn't Jameson take
his peg a little too often, sir?"

"He's a blighter. Glad to get rid of him. Hurry back. And don't stop
at Mike's or Johnny's,"--smiling.

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