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.So I sent it off and they published it.A kind of last fling, as you might term it.Or posthumous, perhaps you could even say.And then no more poetry, not never no more." That last phrase was perhaps too ingratiating, too consciously the old-time barman.Dr Wapenshaw did not fall for it.Instead, he rose in wrath and cried:"That's right, that's right, indulge yourself at my expense." He strode across to a little table near the empty grate, picked up a human skull from it, and then waved it threateningly at Hogg."What you won't or can't realise, you traitor, is that that treacherous effusion of yours has been seen, yes, seen.Shorthouse saw it, Dr Shorthouse to you.You wouldn't know who Dr Shorthouse is, in your wilful treachery, but Dr Shorthouse is the author of The Poetic Syndrome and Art and the Spirochaete and other standard clinical works.Shorthouse saw it and Shorthouse showed it to me." He crept towards Hogg, his eyes blowlamping in shame and anger, holding the skull in both hands like a pudding."And," he cried, "I felt a fool, because I'd already discussed your case with Shorthouse.""Dr Shorthouse," kindly emended Hogg."Now do you see? Do you see? I boast about you as a cure, and here you are again with your bloody poetry." Thumbs in skull's eye-sockets, he tore outwards in his anger, though the skull stayed firm."If it's the page-proofs of that thing of yours you're worried about," said Hogg, still kindly, "I'd be only too pleased to help you to correct them.What I mean is, to say that I wasn't cured after all and that my case was a failure.If that would be of any use," he added humbly."You see," he explained, "I know all about altering things when they're in proof.I was a writer by profession, you see, as you know (I mean, that's what you tried to cure me of, isn't it?), and to you, who are really a doctor, it's only a sort of hobby when all's said and done." He tried to smile at Dr Wapenshaw and then at the skull, but only the latter responded."Or if you like," suggested Hogg, "I'll tell everybody that I'm really cured and that that sonnet was only a kind of leftover from the old days.Or that that bloke K isn't really me but somebody else.In any case, that Shorthouse man won't say anything to anybody, will he? I mean, you doctors stick together, you have to, don't you? In one of those papers of yours I could do it," expanded Hogg."The Lancet and The Scalpel and all those things."Dr Wapenshaw tore at the skull with his tense strong-nailed hairy fingers, but the skull, as though, it shot into Hogg's mind, remembering Housman's line about the man of bone remaining, grinned in armoured complacency.Dr Wapenshaw seemed about to weep then, as though this skull were Yorick's.After that, he made as to hurl the skull at Hogg, but Hogg got down to the floor to pick up the copy of The Kvadrat's Kloochy.Dr Wapenshaw put the skull back on its table, took a great breath and cried:"Get out! Get out of my bloody consulting-room!""I," said Hogg, still on his knees, mildly, "only came here because you told me to.""Go on, get out! I expended skill and time and patience and, yes, bloody love on your case, and this is the thanks I get! You want to ruin my bloody career, that's what it is!"Hogg, who had forgotten that he was still kneeling, said with continued mildness: "You could always put what they call an erratum slip in the book, you know.I had one once.The printers had printed "immortal" instead of "immoral." It'll be a great pleasure to help you, really and truly.In any case, if the worst comes to the worst, they can always take that whole section out of the book and you can put something else in.Although," he added seriously, "you'll have to make sure it's exactly the same length.You could sit down tonight and make something up."Dr Wapenshaw now stomped over to kneeling Hogg and began to lift him by his collar."Out!" he cried again."Get out of here, you immoral bastard!" He thumped to the door, opened it and held it open.The patient by the gas-fire was weeping quietly."As for you, you scrimshanker," Dr Wapenshaw cried at him, "I'll deal with you in a minute.I know you, leadswinger as you are." Hogg, in sorrowful dignity that would, he foreknew, become a brew of rage when he could get to somewhere nice and quiet walked to the door and said:"You take too much on yourselves, if you don't mind me saying so." He waved The Kvadrat's Kloochy in a kind of admonition."I'd say it was the job of people like you to set the rest of us a good example.It's you who want a good going over, not this poor chap here.""Out!""Just going," said Hogg, just going.He went, shaking his head slowly."And," he said, turning back to Dr Wapenshaw, though from a safe distance, "I'll write what poetry I want to, thanks very much, and not you nor anybody else will stop me." He thought of adding "So there," but, before he could decide, Dr Wapenshaw slammed his consulting-room door; the patient by the gas-fire went "Oh!" as though clouted by his mother.Not a very good man after all, thought Hogg, leaving.He ought to have suspected that heartiness right at the beginning.There had always, he felt, been something a bit insincere about it.ThreeSome short time later, Hogg sat trembling in a public lavatory.He could actually see the flesh of his inner thighs jellying with rage.Up above him diesel trains kept setting off to the west, for this was Paddington Station, whither he had walked by way of Madam Tussaud's, the Planetarium, Edgware Road and so on.He had put a penny in the slot and was having more than his pennyworth of anger out.The whole poetry-loathing world had the face of Dr Wapenshaw but, he felt, having soundly and legitimately bemerded that face in imagination and micturated on it also, the world was content merely to loathe, while Dr Wapenshaw had had to go further, deliberately liquidating the poet.Or trying to.He, Hogg, was maligning the world [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]