The Node Bulletins : Number Five
Afghanistan, 12 July. I am beset by woes. Marcus Aurelius said that nothing befalls a man except what is in his nature to endure. I think he spoke too soon. There is now constant petty squabbling within the group. Even Gannett, so long a pillar of fortitude, has become vociferous, having recovered from his attack of laryngitis. He has revealed that we shall soon run out of food, a setback for which he blames Pugh. He is trying to pass the buck, but does have a point.
Shortly after I wrote my last bulletin, our pathfinder guided us to a mountain which he insisted was called Pik Oberpamir. I realised that we had reached the Pamirs, but could not see how the ‘Ober’ came in. Pugh was surely confused. By the way, his stoop is now very pronounced. Whether he is bowed with care or exhausted by his nocturnal activities in Flatpole’s company, I do not know. He laid out a course which we followed on decamping in the early morning of 9th July. After three days of hard slog, during which we had the Sun at angles I found puzzling – I had expected it to be mainly to our right, whereas we soon found it on the left – we came upon an empty corned beef tin. Recognising it, I instituted an investigation, learning that Pugh had led us on an oval route around the mountain and back to our starting point. This elliptical tour has indeed exacerbated our grocery problem.
There is some positive news. We are at last within sight of the lofty pass that will take us into Pakistan. Also, Flatpole has for once shown her worth. Our porters became recalcitrant and when verbal communication proved ineffective, our linguist employed physical methods for the second time within a week or so. The result was four-nil to her, all the porters suffering minor injuries, the outcome marred only by one of them sustaining a broken arm, which reduces his value to us. Still, they are now docile. Good work, Amanda.
I have many fears, but am keeping them to myself, as a leader should.
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