Closed Circle by Robert Goddard

By Robert Goddard

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Viewing our stately progress up the Solent from the aft rail, I could not keep at bay the melancholy thoughts of many a traveller concerning the certainties he has left behind and the uncertainties he has yet to confront. Until 1922, this orderly land of jetties and fields had been my home. But 1922 was a long time ago. I had visited it only twice since then, most recently for my mother's funeral, which fog in mid-Atlantic had caused me to arrive twelve hours too late for. I could hardly claim to know it any more, but I supposed it would admit to knowing me.

So, on balance, I was quite pleased to be nearly home even if England did not seem very homely, either in recollection or anticipation. After letting Atkinson-White beat me at squash a far from simple task I took a lengthy bath, then dressed early for dinner and ascended to the principal lounge, a Ritzy cavern of marble and plaster, where I thought to consume a restful Manhattan in a bay-window armchair, gazing out at the limitless blue of sea and sky. But there was nothing restful about being surprised after only a few minutes by the soft-footed arrival of Mr.

Glad to have been of assistance, Miss .. " "Charnwood. Vita Charnwood. " Thus was my guess of lifelong spinsterhood confirmed. " "England? " "No. The United States, actually, but.. " "Like me, you've been lured north by Canadian Pacific's promise that nearly a third of the crossing will be in the calm waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence? I quite understand. I too am a martyr to sea-sickness, Mr. " I plucked off my hat and shook her hand, surprised to find that her grip was considerably stronger than her stumble on the companion-way had implied.

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