While the Inconvenience was in New York, Lindsay had heard rumours of a "Turkish Corner" that really was supposed, in some not strictly metaphorical way, to provide an "escape nook to Asia."
"Now, set the Special Desert Detail....Secure hatches fore and aft... All hands prepare tu submerge..."
That evening as the Inconvenience soared above the vast and silent desert, Chick and Darby strolled the weather decks, gazing down at circular wave-fronts in the sand, revealed by the low angle of the setting sun, flowing away to the limits of this unknown world.
Appearing these days in the infant science of counter-terrorism as an all-purpose code name, the bloke you sent out a discreet summons for to alert your own security sttaff to a crisis, the real "Inspector Sands," beleaguered, ever struggling to maintain a level of professional behabior, unaware of his drift into legend, soon enough aged beyond his years and sweated into a moodiness at home that could not but slop over onto the wife and kids, would find by midcareer no time oven to take off his hat, hurrying as ever from one emergency to the next-
The day Dally left for New York, Merle, pretending to himself he'd lost his spectacles, had goone rooting around through everything he could think of, opening boxes, looking under counterpanes and behind the framing of the wagon, till he caught sight of an ald stuffed doll, Clarabella, the one who joined them, as Dally liked to put it, years back in Kansas City, just lying now in the housedust, and he was surprised to find himself with emotions somehow not his own, as if the forlorness were old Clarabella's there, all abandoned in the full light of day, with no more little girl to pick her up.
One day under a sky of a certain almost-familiar shade of yellow, he came to the bank of a river on which young people were canoeing, not in high spirits or carefree flirtation but in some dark perplexities, as if they were here from deeper motives but couldn't just then remember what those were,
Next afternoon the light took its deep yellowish turn, and here came that Thorvald again.
One day there was a flurry of rumors that the famous mathematician Hermann Minkowski was coming over from Germany to give a talk on Space and Time.
Frank came one day back over into west Texas, splashing up droplets out of the muddy river which transmuted briefly to sunlight he could no longer in his heart appreciate much.
He hit the pass at the summit just about as Saturday night was settling in down in Fickle Creekm you could hear the gunshots and whoop-de-do from up here easy.
Before he even kissed her hello, she had him cranking the machine.
Frank took the narrow-gauge out of Cripple, and it was some time vefore he noticed he was riding south.
Down they journeyed, out of the mountains, seldom looking back, down through the prairie-smole of eastern Colorado, onto a lowland that seemed to be awaiting reoccupation by ancient forces of mischief...
For a day or two after they got married, Deuce had kept repeating to himself, I'm not alone anymore.
Being afraid of ghosts, Deuce had been waiting for Webb to find him.
As must happen to all badmen early and late, Deuce one day found himself putting on the deputy's star.
But it was not the minutiae of the day's offenses, the penises caught experimentally in laundry wringers, repeated thefts of the ony automobile in town, willing victims of the formulations of Happy Jack La Foam. the local pharmacist, who'd have to be rescued from up telegraph poles and belfries, from temperance meetings or the unsympathetic weaponry of spouses in pursuit, not the fabric of the municipal Deuce was really there to attend, he discovered, so much as to be on call around the clock for the more abstract emergency, the prophecy which loomed out beyond the sensible horizon of daybook fact,
She dreamed about Mayva.
"You could wait for him to come back," Tace advised.
"Always thought there was this great secret.
Once it was clear to him that she knew, and to her that he knew she knew and so forth, once they found themselves passed somehow through the fatal gate they'd both been afraid of, opened as by invisible guardians and shut again behind them, and she went on as always and didn't give any sign of fixing to shoot him or anything like that.
After what had added up to years of dodging, fals uttering and hard riding to escape it, Deuce was relentlessly being delivered into his own life, and what a dismal prospect it was turning out to be.
So it started as no more than one of those basic little chats about the married universe that couples were known to get into when they found a minute, which was seldom, and the subject this one always converged to for Lake and Deuce was having -actually, not having- children.
"Yes well perhaps you did, but I saw the left one, didn't I," declared Neville.
"Line and staff," Cyprian Latewood recalled having heard his father instructing his children, "headquarters and field commands, and the enemy everywhere you can think of."
Meanwhile . . .
"Ewh I say gehls, look it's Peeng-kyeah!"
Cyprian was captivated by eyes, but only by those that looked away, with either indifference or active distaste.
"What. He doesn't dance?"
Cyprian made Professor Renfrew's acquaintance by way of Ratty McHugh.
The terms went gliding, Lent and Easter, into the Long Vacation.
In the briskness of autumn again, everyone reconnected.
"So it's off to the land of lederhosen, is it," said Cyprian with as little peevishness as possible.
It would have been too much to expect Professor Renfrew to stay clear of his propensity to meddle -the minute he learned of Yashmeen's impending departure for Göttingen, he began a campaign of inducement if not outright seduction- there were times she could not be sure.
It was a bit more sinister than that, actually.
Yashmeen, Lorelei, Noellyn, and Faun, down for a day's truancy in London with the Snazzbury fittings for an excuse, had been summoned to an atelier located in a dismal industrial building, closer perhaps to Charing Cross Road than to Regent Street, around a corner forever in the shadows of taller structures surrounding it.
The group that gathered at Liverpool Street Station to see her off included Cyprian, Lorelei, Noellyn, and Faun, a group of smitten young men, none of whom anyone seemed to know, and the toxically obtrusive Professor Renfrew, who presented her with a bouquet of hydrangeas.
The tall black hull rose above them like a monument to th perils of the sea, no obvious connection to the waves of gaiety washing beneath it.
Katie stayed until the liner had backed, turned, begun to dwindle into the complications of the harbor.
It wasn't really till Erlys and Dally got well out onto the ocean that either felt permitted, as if by the non-human vastness they had entered, either to speak or to listen.
Fourth class was separated from the weather decks by only the flimsiest of glass-and-sashwork partitions, a space long and narrow as a passenger coach in a train, rows and rows of bench seats and racks overhead for luggage.
Root was his guest tonight in first class, and the minute they were seated and Root was engaged with the wine list, Kit found himself once again gazing across the saloon at a young woman with a striking head of red hair, who had just come in with a large party of performing Italians, the kids already beginning to juggle the silverware, somehow avoiding injury from the glittering edges and tines, others to spin plates on the ends of limber wands, East Indian fashion.
"Well you sure went gaga," Bria remarked.
It had begun to seem as if she and Kit were on separate vessels, distinct versions of the Stupendica, pulling away slowly on separate courses, each bound to a different destiny.
As Kit and Root descended ladder by ladder into the engine spaces of the Stupendica, they found the ship deeper than they had imagined, and much less horizontally disposed.
In the engineering spaces, things slowly drifted back to normal, whatever that meant down here.
Town-dwellers, Susi tradesfolk, Berbers from up the valley, merchants in with caravans from the mountains and the desert beyond left off the minutiæ of day's business to stand along the beach and gaze, uncertain of their peril.
They had left the Bay of Agadir, rounding Ighir Ufrani as the sunlight was just touching the tops of the mountains, and set a course northeastward toward the English Channel, steaming just out of sight of the coast.
Meanwhile, leaving its military double to wander the mists, the Stupendica continued its civilian Journey.
Followed by equivocal stares from the crew of the Fomalhaut, Kit collected his pay at Ostend and stepped wobbling onto the Fishermen's Quai, boarded the electric tram, and rode as far as the Continental, where for some reason he assumed there'd be a room reserved and waiting.
Hotel staff of a spruceness less rigorous than what they might've been held to in daylight hours werre maintaining a fine balance between annoyance and bewilderment at the spectacle of these Quaternionist troupers, by now years in retreat from their great struggle for existence, still resolute and insomniac.
Pléiade's rendezvous was with one Piet Woevre, formerly of the Force Publicqe, whose taste for brutality, refined in the Congo, had been found by security bureaux here at home useful beyond price.
Next evening Kit, having against his better judgment accompanied Pléiade to her suite, found himself in some perplexity, for at some point in the deep maledicition of the hour she had mysteriously vanished.
The next time he saw Pléiade Lafrisée was at a café-restaurant off the Place d'Armes.
The Usine Régionale à la Mayonnaise or Regional Mayonnaise Works, where all the mayonnaise in West Flanders was manufactured and then sent out in a variety of forms to different restaurants, each of which presented it as a unique Specialty of the House, though quite extensive in area, was seldom, if ever, mentioned in guidebooks, receiving, in consequence, few visitors other than those employed there.
The crew of Inconvenience had been ordered to Brussels to pay their respects at a memorial service for General Boulanger, held each September 30 on the anniversary of his suicide, an observance not altogether free of political suggestion, there having remained within the Chums of Chance bureaucracy a defiant residue of Boulangism.
Viktor Mulciber -bespoke suit, pomaded silver hair- though rich enough to afford to send a deputy, showed up at the Kursaal himself in a state of unconcealed eagerness, as if this mysterious Q-weapon were a common firearm and he hoping the seller would allow him a few courtesy shots.
Whenever Kit found himself considering his plans, which he had once not long ago believed to include Göttingen, there was always the interesting question of why he should be lingering in this vaguely grandular shape on the map, beleaguered, paused at the edge of history, less a nation than a prophecy of a fate to be communally suffered, an all but sub-audible ostinato of fear...
Kit continued to catch sight of Pléiade Lafrisée now and then, out along the Digue, or across the gaming rooms, or up in the stands at the Wellington Hippodrome, usually attending to the whimsical schedule of some visiting sportsman.
In the festivities attending departure, romance, intoxication, and folly were so in command, so many corridor doors opening and closing, so many guests wandering in and out of the wrong rooms, that de Decker's shop, declaring an official Mischief Opportunity, sent over to the hotel as many operatives as they couild spare, among them Piet Woevre, who would rather have been working at night and toward some more sinister end.
Kit couldn't quite see the reason for all the fuss.
At the Ostende-Ville Station, Kit had a moment -soon dissipated in purposeful noise and coal-smoke, beer-drinking merriment, Root Tubsmith whanging away at a ukulele medley including Borel-Clerc's wildly popular "La Matchiche"- in which he glimpsed how Ostend really might not be simply another pleasure-resort for people with too much money, but the western anchor of a continental system that happened to include the Orient Express, the Trans-Siberian, the Berlin-to-Baghdad, and so on in steel proliferation across the World-Island.
Dally might have explained it if somebody had insisted -the Chicago Fair was a long time ago, but she had kept a memory or two of silent boats on canals, something began to stir as the vaporetto made its way from the train station down the Grand Canal, until, just at sunset, getting to the San Marco end, and there was the pure Venetian evening, the blue-green shadows, the lavenders, ultramarines, siennas, and umbers of the sky and the light-bearing air she was breathing, the astonishing momentum of the everyday twilight, gas-lanterns coming on in the Piazetta, San Giorgio across the water lit pale as angels, distant as heaven and yet seeming only a step, as if her breath, her yearning, could reach across to it and touch- she was certain for the first time in a life on the roll that whatever "home" had meant, this was older than memory, than the story she thought she knew.
"So now I have to let her go," Erlys said.
She was earning a living before she knew it, putting to use th many light-handed and quick-fingered skills and the fast talk that went with them she had started learning from Merle before she learned to walk, and from the dealers and sharpers who'd come tumbleweeding through the different towns towns ever since her hands were big enough to palm bridge-size cards, and later learning from Luca Zombini to expand into juggling and magic tricks.
"... Overnight, during a match, Dr. Grace appeared to me, ordered me to Charing Cross and onto the boat-train..."
One day Hunter announced he was switching to nocturnes.
Winter was coming on, and Dally needed someplace reliable to sleep during the day, the fondamente by now having been long out of the question.
One day Hunter showed up in sunglasses, broad-brimmed straw hat, and fisherman's smock.
Tancredi's paintings were like explosions.
"Smells like a tannery," it seemed to Kit.
That winter, in St. Petersburg, troops at the Winter Palace fired on thousands of unarmed strikers who had marched there in respectfulness and innocence.
"As a crime," Humfried pointed out, "often of the gravest sort, committed in a detective story, may often be only a pretext for the posing and solution of some narrative puzzle, so romance in this town is often pursued as little beyond a pretext for running in and out of doors, not to mention up and down stairs, while talking nonstop and, on auspicious days, screaming."
Among the Russian visitors to Göttingen were some of decidedly mystical inclination.
Kit meanwhile had begun to frequent the Applied Mechanics Institute.
In Hilbert's class one day, she raised her hand.
One morning Lew walked into the breakfast parlor at Chunxton Crescent to find Police Inspector Vance Aychrome, angelically revealed in early sunbeams through the stained-glass dome overhead, relentlessly despoiling a Full English Breakfast modified for the Pythagorean dietary here, including imitation sausages, kippers and bloaters, omelettes, fried potatoes, porridge, buns, baps, scones, and loaves in various formats.
The suburbs out this way tended to be corrupted versions of the Mother City, Wenlets combining the worst of village eccentricity and big-city melancholia.
One day, the day he would be some time coming to terms with his idiocy in not seeing the obvious approach of, Kit was summoned to the local branch of the Bank of Prussia in the Weenderstraße and beckoned into its back regions by Herr Spielmacher, the International Manager, hitherto friendly enough but today, how would you put it, a little distant.
Kit looked, looked away, looked again.
It didn't seem like the weekend had arrived, it didn't seem like there was much of a calendar in force at all anymore.
Kit woke to see looming over him the face of a Dr. Willi Dingkopf, framed by a haircut in violation of more than one law of physics, and a vivid necktie in fuchsia, heliotrope, and duck green, a gift from on of the patients, as the Doc presently explained in a voice hoarse from too much cigarette-smoking.
"Ich bin ein Berliner!"
Several hours later, Kit became aware of a huge, soft, indistinct mass in the gloom of the dormitory, giving off the unmistakable scent of a freshly-baked pastry.
Yashmeen caught up with him at the café they'd been in the other evening.
Having a day free, Kit, Yashmeen, and Günther decided to make a farewell visit to the little-known but rewarding Museum der Monstrositäten, a sort of nocturnal equivalent of Professor Klein's huge collection of mathematical models on the third floor of the Auditorienhaus.
Frank had sworn that once he was out of Mexico he was out, that his unfinished business in northamerica would have first claim on him.
Ewball had a fatality for running across old acquaintances from el otro lado and an earlier day, in the years between grown older and meaner, and sometimes into a notoriety neither could have imagined back in those days of sensation and carelessness.
Frank and Ewball moseyed into Steve/Ramón's party to find a ballroom murmurous with tiled fountains, where uncaged parrots glided from one ornamental palm to another.
Just what kind of a weapons jobber would pick a place like this to meet in?
Later, outside, back from a stroll by the dusty green river, Frank saw, coming quickly behind them along the sidewalk, almost like a mirage in the blaring of heat and light, two local reps out from some metropolis of the bad, faces or at least gaits he might have run across before.
"My keeper," Frank introduced Ewball to Stray.
It had rained in the night, and some of the ocotillo fences had sprouted some green.
What with card games in the changing rooms and the platoons of ladies who gathered each shift's end at the tunnel entrances in their respective countries, it wasn't like either Roof or Flaco was squirreling much away, though there was no shortage of work.
Reef should have known what was coming when the favogn blew in.
Philippe was an alumnus of the infamous children's prison in Paris known as the Petite Roquette, and had gained an early appreciation of institutional spaces.
It was said that great tunnels like the Simplon or St.-Gotthard were haunted, that when the train entered and the light of the world, day or night, had to be abandoned for the time of passage however brief, and the mineral roar made conversation impossible, then certain spirits who once had chosen to surrender into the fierce intestinal darkness of the mountain would reappear among the paying passengers, take empty seats, drink negligibly from the engraved glassware in the dining cars, assume themselves into the rising shapes of tobacco smoke, whisper a propaganda of memory and redemption to salesmen, tourists, the resolutely idle, the uncleansable rich, and other practitioners of forgetfulness, who could not sense the visitors with anything like the clarity of fugitives, exiles, mourners and spies-all those, that is, who had reached agreement, even occasions of intimacy, with Time.
Kit and Yashmeen walked up from the little hotel in Intra, along the shore of the lake, to the churchyard at Biganzano, Where Riemann's grave was.
At Riemann's grave she swept off her hat and stood with her head bowed, allowing the mountain wind to do as it wished with her hair.
Yashmeen had arranged to re-connect with elements of the T.W.I.T. at the fabled Sanatorium Böpfli-Spazzoletta, on the Swiss side of Lago Maggiore.
"Reef, allow me to present Miss Yashmeen Halfcourt."
In the dream they are all together at a social of some kind, it is unnamed but familiar high country, spruce and aspensm water running everywhere, creeks, ponds, fountains, more food than a church supper, cooks in those taal cooks'hats carving and dishing it out, barbecued ribs and baked beans, ice-cream cones and sweet-potato pies, presentable girls, many of them distant relatives, each face all but unbearably distinct, familiar though never met before, fiddles and guitars and an accordion and people dancing, and off at the edge of it Kit sees his father alone at a wood picninc table with a pack of cards, playing poker solitaire.
And here came Neville and Nigel again, drinking opiated highballs of British cough syrup and aerated water from a portable seltzogene they had also been discharging at passersby, causing a spot of grumbling among the T.W.I.T. membership.
"Werfner's in London," Lew told the Cohen next day.
Only thing to do really was to try and take Renfrew by surprise.
He found Renfrew in a hectic mood, as close to desperation as Lew could recall.
Back in London, Lew went out again to Cheapside to consult Dr. Coombs De Bottle, who seemed a bit more tattered and fretful than last time.
The Cohen was inclined to a philosophic view.
Then one morning Lew stumbled down to the breakfast salon to find that everyone had left town.