"IN ALL THE ANTHOLOGIES!"
He wondered, he wondered, he wondered. Artistic, which included literary, homosexuals. The name, rationalised into mock-Arabic:
The slogan. Well. He began to breathe hard. If they caught him, and he would surely know if they were going to catch him, he would not be punished gratuitously. There was something very just but highly punishable he would do before Interpol dragged him off in handcuffs. When you came to think of it, Tangier sounded like just the sort of place a man of Rawcliffe's type would end up in. Moorish catamites. Drinking himself to death. Drinking was too slow a process.
Hogg came to to find the woman gently unclicking his safety-belt for him. "You were miles away," she smiled. "And we're miles up. Look." Hogg, mumbling sour thanks, surveyed without much interest a lot of clouds lying below them. He had seen such things before, travelling to Rome on his honeymoon. He gave the clouds the tribute of a look of weary sophistication. It was the Romantic poets really who should have flown; Percy Shelley would have loved to see all this lot from this angle. How did that thing go now? He chewed a line or two to himself.
"Did you say something?" asked the woman.
"Poetry," said Hogg. "A bit of poetry. About clouds." And, as if to make up for his neglect of her, kind and friendly as she was, he recited, in his woolly voice:
"I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again."
"Oh, I do love poetry," this woman smiled over the engines. "It was a toss-up whether I did literature or astronomy, you know. But it was the moon that won."
"How do you mean," asked Hogg carefully, "it was the moon that won?"
"That's what I do," she said. "That's what I lecture in. The moon. Selenography, you know."
"Selene," said learned Hogg. "A fusion of Artemis and Hecate."
"Oh, I wouldn't know about that," she said. "Selenography is what it's called. I'd better introduce myself, I suppose. My name's Miranda Boland."
Miranda: a wonder to her parents: poor woman, all alone as she was. "Well," said Hogg cautiously, "my name -"
Charlie the dragoman suddenly boomed through a crackling speaker. "My name," he announced, "is Mr Mercer." No familiarity, then; he was no longer to be thought of as Charlie. "My job," he said, "is to look after you on this cruise, show you around and so on."
"Come wiz me to ze Kasbah," said the rubbery man. He had made it, then. It was his debut as resident comedian. "Shut up, George," his wife said, delightedly. Members of the party grinned and made their bottoms and shoulders more comfortable. The holiday was really beginning now.
"I hope you will enjoy this cruise," crackled Mr Mercer. "Lots of people do enjoy these cruises. They sometimes come again. And if there's anything you don't like about this cruise, tell me. Tell me. Don't bother to write a letter to Panmed. Let's have it out at once, man to man, or to woman should such be the case. But I think you'll like it. Anyway, I hope so. And so does Miss Kelly, your charming air-hostess, and Captain O'Shaughnessy up front. Now the first thing is that we can expect a bit of obstruction at Seville. It's this Gibraltar business, which you may have read about. The Spanish want it and we won't let it go. So they get a bit awkward when it comes to customs and immigration and so on. They try and delay us, which is not very friendly. Now it's quicker if I show your passports all in one lump, so I'm coming round to collect them now. And then Miss Kelly here will serve tea."
Miranda Boland (Mrs? Miss?) opened a stuffed handbag to get her passport out. She had a lot of things in her bag: tubes of antibiotics and specifics against diarrhoea and the like. Also a tittle Spanish dictionary. That was to help her to have a good time. Also a small writing-case. This put into Hogg's head an idea, perhaps a salvatory one. Hogg, without fear, produced his own passport.
"Miss Boland?" said Mr Mercer, coming round. Miss, then. "Quite a nice photo, isn't it?" And then: "Mr Enderby, is it?"
"That's right." Mr Mercer examined a smirking portrait of an engaged man, occupation not yet certain at that time but given as writer; a couple of official Roman chops: in and then, more quickly, out again.
"And what do you do, Mr Enderby?" asked Miss Boland.
"I," said Enderby, "am a poet. I am Enderby the Poet." The name meant nothing to this poetry-loving selenographer. The clouds below, Shelley's pals, were flushed with no special radiance. "The Poet," repeated Enderby, with rather less confidence. They pushed on towards the sun. Enderby's stomach quietly announced that soon, very soon, it was going to react to all that had happened. Delayed shock said that it would not be much longer delayed. Enderby sat tense in his seat, waiting for it as for an air-crash.