The Voice in the Fog (Chapter 6, page 1 of 7)


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Chapter 6

Thomas was a busy man up to and long after the hour of sailing. His
cabins were filled with about all the variant species of the race: two
nervous married women with their noisy mismanaged children, three young
men on a lark, and an actress who was paying her husband's expenses and
gladly announced the fact over and through the partitions. Three bells
tingled all day long, and the only thing that saved Thomas from the
"sickbay" was the fact that the bar closed at eleven. And a rough
passage added to his labors. No Henley this voyage, no comfy loafing
about the main-deck in the sunshine. A busy, miserable, dejected young
man, who cursed his folly and yet clung to it with that tenacity which
makes prejudice England's first-born.

Night after night, stretched out wearily on his bunk, the sordid
picture of Lumpy Joe's returned to him. By a hair's breadth! It was
always a source of amazement to recall how quickly and shrewdly his
escape had been managed. He felt reasonably safe. Jameson would never
dare tell what he knew, to incriminate himself for the sake of revenge.
To have got the best of him and to have pulled the wool over the eyes
of a keen American detective!

In Liverpool he deliberately threw away a full sovereign in
motion-pictures and music-halls. But he drank nothing, not even his
customary ale. Not so long ago he had tasted his first champagne; very
expensive, something more than two hundred pounds. Stupid ass! And
yet . . . The very life he had always been longing for, dreaming of,
behind his counters: to be free, to rove at will, to seek adventure.

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