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Release date: 2022-12-01 08:27:11 Author:fGhkFKmu

"Aha!" He regarded his empty glass with an air of surprise, then reached out with an unerring hand. "The kindly healer with his bag of tricks.

Back in my corner I picked up the booklet again but instead of reading it got to wondering about my cabin and those who might visit it during my absence. Mary Stuart had visited it, but then she'd told me she had and the fact that she was here now confirmed the reason for her visit. At least, it seemed to confirm it. She was scared, she said, she was lonely and so she naturally wanted company. Why my company? Why not that of, say, Charles Conrad who was a whole lot younger, nicer, and better looking than I was? Or even his other two fellow actors, Gunther Jungbeck and ion Heyter, both very personable characters indeed? Maybe she wanted to be with me for all the wrong reasons. Maybe she was watching me, maybe she was virtually guarding me, maybe she was giving someone the opportunity to visit my cabin while-I was suddenly very acutely aware that there were things in my cabin that I'd rather not be seen by others.

It was after midnight but not yet closing hours in the lounge bar, for Lonnie Gilbert, with a heroically foolhardy disregard for what would surely be Otto's fearful wrath when the crime was discovered, had both glass doors swung open and latched in position, while he himself was ensconced in some state behind the bar itself, a bottle of malt whisky in one hand, a soda syphon in the other. He beamed paternally at me as I passed through and as it seemed late in the day to point out to Lonnie that the better class malts stood in no need of the anaemic assistance of soda I just nodded and went below.

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:

"Otto's really a very kindly man. I like Otto. He's always been good to me, Otto has. Most people are good, my dear chap, don't you know that? Most people are kind. Lots of them very kind. But none so kind as Otto. Why, I remember-"

"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-"

"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-?'

"Otto's really a very kindly man. I like Otto. He's always been good to me, Otto has. Most people are good, my dear chap, don't you know that? Most people are kind. Lots of them very kind. But none so kind as Otto. Why, I remember-"

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:

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

"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:

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

"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:

Hot-foot to the succour of suffering mankind? A new and dreadful epidemic, is it? Your old Uncle Lonnie is proud of you, boy, proud of you. This Hippocratic spirit-" He broke off only to resume almost at once.

"Where are you going?"

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

Nothing brings out the worst in me more quickly than sweetly smiling suffering. I picked up the rug, did my customary two-step across the heaving deck and draped the rug over her. She looked at me gravely and said nothing.

Hot-foot to the succour of suffering mankind? A new and dreadful epidemic, is it? Your old Uncle Lonnie is proud of you, boy, proud of you. This Hippocratic spirit-" He broke off only to resume almost at once.

Nothing brings out the worst in me more quickly than sweetly smiling suffering. I picked up the rug, did my customary two-step across the heaving deck and draped the rug over her. She looked at me gravely and said nothing.

"Lonnie," I said, I don't think you're the least little bit like Macbeth."

"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."

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

"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-?'

I put the book down and headed for the lee door. She opened her eyes and lifted her head.

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

I put the book down and headed for the lee door. She opened her eyes and lifted her head.

"Lonnie," I said, I don't think you're the least little bit like Macbeth."

"I'm sorry, too. I'm not rude," I lied, "just tired. Below. Back in a minute."

"Otto's really a very kindly man. I like Otto. He's always been good to me, Otto has. Most people are good, my dear chap, don't you know that? Most people are kind. Lots of them very kind. But none so kind as Otto. Why, I remember-"

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