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The Galloping Lantern

The Galloping Lantern

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Published by Rowan Visser

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Published by: Rowan Visser on Sep 27, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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For FlorenceThe dreams we dream
The Galloping Lantern
Good evening, Mr. Andrews
, the man behind the counter said as BartholomewHarbottle walked in, leather bag in his hand.
Good evening, Jones
, he replied with a nod. He removed his broad rim hat,straightened his long black coat and quietly stood by the bar, as usual, while Jones poured hisale.The Galloping Lantern, like scores of other public houses in Port Nolath, was filledwith pipe smoke and working class men, dirty from a hard day
s work. The mixed aroma of tobacco, sweat and stale beer filled every corner and a wood fire kept the punters thirsty andcosy, unwilling to leave the comfort of those stained walls for the cold, dark rain outsidewhere horse and cart clattered loudly over cobbles and angry wives waited in dingy houseslike rabid dogs in rancid kennels. On those dark winter
s nights the odds were firmly stackedin the landlord
s favour, they all knew it.Bartholomew paid for his pint and crossed the room to his usual seat, in the cornerfurthest from the bar. He sat down and, as usual, took a book out of his leather bag andopened it on his lap. Conversation flowed in from all angles to where he was sat.
A bit of trouble with the missus
, went along with
he ain
t ever paid me for what I work for
, to bemixed with
what did you expect? He
s a grass, ain
t he?
All these bits floated pastBartholomew and made him feel great. The more he listened the better his mood got.
He sat for a while longer, staring blindly at his book, allowing himself to follow aconversation or two. It was the same old nonsense, regurgitated in slightly different wordsand before long he was bored, his interests satisfied. He finished his drink, pulled his hatdown over his head and slowly stood up to make his exit.
Excuse me, sir
, a voice squeaked to his left.Bartholomew paused for a second, not looking to see who it was, instead scanning tofind the quickest exit route. His eyes flashed around the room towards the entrance where agroup of young men were streaming through the door, pushing to get to the bar first. Even inhis corner, on the far side of the bar, men were suddenly stood shoulder to shoulder. A shipload of thirsty sailors had just come in, Bartholomew thought to himself. Great.
Excuse me, sir
, the voice squeaked again.This time Bartholomew turned to see who it was. A man with a round pink sweatyface stood an arms length away from him, pushed between two men much taller than him.Bartholomew crossed his arms and waited for him to finish squeezing passed the two men.He seemed fairly harmless and not the sort of fellow who would have many, if any, friends ina place like this.After a bit of a tussle and at least one curse the pink faced man came to stand in frontof Bartholomew. He smelled very unpleasant.
the man was as twitchy as a bag of mice, jumping from one foot to the other -

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