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5

In Green's Jungle


Atteno the stationer has let me stay in his shop again tonight, and furnished me with a pallet he bought today for my sake, a pillow, sheets, and three blankets; but I slept so much yesterday (in a barrel in the alley when the shop was open) that I find I am unable to get to sleep tonight. Unable as yet, I should write.

So here I sit in my usual place in the shopwindow, burning Atteno's oil in his lamp and writing on paper I have appropriated from him, having used up all he gave me earlier while I finished describing Inclito's dinner of night-before-last. It was the most I have ever written in a single sitting, to the best of my memory. Even when my wife and I were composing our book about Silk, I never wrote so long a time without some sort of break or interruption, or wrote so much.

Not a lot has happened since Oreb burst in upon us, although I have received two letters. My friend the shopkeeper (I have got to find some way to repay him for the paper I have taken) was delighted. "People of quality write letters, " he declared as he endeavored to conceal his pleasure. "It's the mark of quality, and a good education." No one in Blanko can set pen to paper without putting the little squares of silver they term "cardbits" here into his pocket, and he is very conscious of it. Since I began this rambling account of my journey back to the Whorl by copying what I remembered of the letter from Pajarocu into it, I will copy them out here as well.

Two young men with huge dogs on leashes just walked past the shop; seeing me behind these panes of bull's-eye glass, they saluted. They had slug guns slung across their backs in the fashion I saw our troopers in Gaon use. I returned their salutes-and at once, without the mumbling of a single spell or the offering of some poor, sad monkey's life to Thelxiepeia, I was fifteen again, and by no means the youngest of General Mint's Volunteers. Once a trooper, always a trooper. No doubt Spider felt the same way, or much more so. We ought to have put something of that in our book, but it is too late now.

War looms-not only for Blanko, but for me. To give myself due credit, I never imagined that by leaving Evensong and her pretty little boat on the Nadi I would throw them off indefinitely. A week? Ten days, perhaps, although it seemed much longer. Very well, I have fought them before, and in place of a slug gun and the black-bladed sword I have Hyacinth's azoth. Let them beware.



4 My Own Story: The Man with the Black Sword | In Green`s Jungles | * * *



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