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datatime: 2022-11-27 17:22:54 Author:iawfIcIe

"Otto? Do you know something?" Lonnie leaned forward confidentially.

"As long as you don't hit anybody it's none of my business how you drive, Lonnie."

"You think I'm headed for the next world with my gas pedal flat on the floor, don't you?"

I don't think he quite meant it in that way, Lonnie. Anyway, doctor's orders and do me a favour-get to hell out of here. Otto will have you drawn and quartered if he finds you here."

"Otto? Do you know something?" Lonnie leaned forward confidentially.

Once outside I remained still for twenty seconds or so, ignoring the vagrant flurries of snow that even here, on the lee side, seemed bent on getting down my collar and up the trouser cuffs, then walked quickly foreword. I peered through the plate-glass window and she was sitting as I'd left her, only now she had her elbows on her knees and her face in her hands, shaking her head slowly from side to side. Ten years ago I'd have been back in that saloon pretty rapidly, arms round her and telling her that all her troubles were over. That was ten years ago. Now I just looked at her, wondered if she had been expecting me to take a peck at her, then made my way foreword and down to the passenger accommodation.

"Neither am I being heavy-handed and moralistic. But I have a sensitive nature and I don't want to be around when you find out that your assessment of Otto is a hundred percent wrong." Lonnie came without a single murmur of protest. Clearly, he had his emergency supplies cached in his cabin. On our stumbling descent of the companionway he said:

Once outside I remained still for twenty seconds or so, ignoring the vagrant flurries of snow that even here, on the lee side, seemed bent on getting down my collar and up the trouser cuffs, then walked quickly foreword. I peered through the plate-glass window and she was sitting as I'd left her, only now she had her elbows on her knees and her face in her hands, shaking her head slowly from side to side. Ten years ago I'd have been back in that saloon pretty rapidly, arms round her and telling her that all her troubles were over. That was ten years ago. Now I just looked at her, wondered if she had been expecting me to take a peck at her, then made my way foreword and down to the passenger accommodation.

"Now that we have touched, inadvertently chanced upon, as one might say, this topic-spirit, the blushful hippocrene-I wonder if by any chance you would care to join me in a thimbleful of the elixir I have here-?'

"Thank you, Lonnie, no. Why don't you get to bed? If you keep it up like this, you won't be able to get up tomorrow."

"Otto? Do you know something?" Lonnie leaned forward confidentially.

He stumbled into his cabin, sat heavily on his bed, then moved with remarkable swiftness to one side: I could only conclude that he'd inadvertently sat on a bottle of Scotch. He looked at me, pondering, then said:

She nodded, her eyes following me until I closed the door behind me.

"I'm sorry. I just-are you coming back?"

"And there you have it in a nutshell. I'm not. A tragic figure, a sad man, fated and laden with doom. Now, me, I'm not like that at all. We Gilberts have the indomitable spirit, the unconquerable soul. Your Shakespeares are all very well, but Walter de la Mare is my boy." He lifted his glass and squinted myopically at it against the light. ---Look your last on all things lovely every hour."'

"I'm sorry. I just-are you coming back?"

"Thank you, Lonnie, no. Why don't you get to bed? If you keep it up like this, you won't be able to get up tomorrow."

She nodded, her eyes following me until I closed the door behind me.

"And that, my dear boy, is the whole point of the exercise, I don't want to get up tomorrow. The day after tomorrow? Well, yes, if I must, I'll face the day after tomorrow. I don't want to, mind you, for tomorrows, We found, are always distressingly similar to todays. The only good thing you can say about a today is that at any given moment such and such a portion of it is already irrevocably past'-he paused to admire his speech control-"Irrevocably past, as I say, and, with the passing of every moment, so much less of it to come. But all of tomorrow is still to come. Think of it. All of it-the livelong day." He lifted his recharged glass. "Others drink to forget the past. But some of us-very, very few and it would not be right of me to say that we're gifted with a prescience and understanding and intelligence far beyond the normal ken, so I'll just say we're different some of us, I say, drink to forget the future. How, you will ask, can one forget the future? Well, for one thing, it takes practice. And, of course, a little assistance." He drank half his malt in one gulp and intoned: Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable-"

"Otto? Do you know something?" Lonnie leaned forward confidentially.

"And there you have it in a nutshell. I'm not. A tragic figure, a sad man, fated and laden with doom. Now, me, I'm not like that at all. We Gilberts have the indomitable spirit, the unconquerable soul. Your Shakespeares are all very well, but Walter de la Mare is my boy." He lifted his glass and squinted myopically at it against the light. ---Look your last on all things lovely every hour."'

He stumbled into his cabin, sat heavily on his bed, then moved with remarkable swiftness to one side: I could only conclude that he'd inadvertently sat on a bottle of Scotch. He looked at me, pondering, then said:

"Where are you going?"

"As long as you don't hit anybody it's none of my business how you drive, Lonnie."

"You think I'm headed for the next world with my gas pedal flat on the floor, don't you?"

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