As we proceeded topside Harris chuckled.
“That was a mighty fine speech you gave. You should have taken on the cloth.”
“I do not fancy my fathers profession.”
“A nice parish in the country? That is not favorable to scurvy and the sword?”
“The parish is worms and dust. It is stifling to both mind and spirit. There are such vistas both mortal and metaphysic…that to burrow ones nose in the narrow confines of Saxon renderings of oriental myths is a crime against God.”
“You call the Bible a myth? I’m sure the senior Halstead would make one out of your hide for that.”
“He already has.” I said musing on the steady application of physical discipline by that tall, thin, ascetic thing I called father. I owed him much in the way of education but was very glad on the day that I put distance between myself and that holy terror.
“So that’s why you took so warmly to those diabolists in Boston.”
It was my turn to chuckle.
“They have quite the reputation.”
“Yes, I’m sure that all the superstitious babblers fancy us the new Salem. But to imagine George as a diabolist…well that is some devilry indeed.”
“Is that the portly fellow?”
“Yes, portlier and jollier than you, more patient then a saint….more generous than the Samaritan.”
“So what is it that you do there?”
“That’s the thing I’ve told you and we’ve told the whole town a million times over. We collect books, curiosities, and entertain ideas…that’s all besides a good bit of mutton and beer. Perhaps some take to whoring more often than is proper but how uncommon is that in a port city? Does not the governor himself that pious picture of Protestant virtue…. not entertain more beauties than the king of France?”
“So why do you keep asking?”
“It’s just there’s so much seen round that Inn, so many odd folks, and lights, and voices.”
“Well what do you expect from a party if not folks, and lights, and voices.”
“Well…some have said they’ve seen fairies….” Harris said sheepishly.
“You are a fairy you great port barrel fool.” I said gripping his neck and rubbing my knuckles into his bald head. I also had my father’s height to thank for this capacity to molest the crowns of my fellows. I suppose that’s one more thing I could thank him for.
“Alright, alright! hands off you spindly monstrosity, before I sit on you.”
“Ooooff…” I exploded. “That is certain death!” And released him.
“So what do you think old Death will make of this Canaries business?”
“I rather think he will agree.”
“Yes, you noted yourself, the change in him. He is no longer as keen on politics and service as he is on the Contemplation of God.”
“He has gone a bit queer hasn’t he.”
“Shhh….” I said putting my finger to my lips. “We just passed his new lodging.”
“Ah! I always forget he gave up his quarters to that magician. Besides aren’t we about to meet him topside.”
“You can never be certain and…Magician?”
“Yes, that’s how I’ve come to think of him…you know like from the Bible…the magi…”
This statement threw me into a heady flurry of thought that was as brisk as the salt air that kissed my face as we emerged topside onto the deck.
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