Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mondaugen's story I One May morning in 1922

Mondaugen's story

One May morning in 1922 (meaning nearly winter here in the Warmbad district) a young engineering student named Kurt Mondaugen, late of the Technical University in Munich, arrived at a white outpost near the village of Kalkfontein South. More voluptuous than fat, with fair hair, long eyelashes and a shy smile that enchanted older women, Mondaugen sat in an aged Cape cart idly picking his nose, waiting for the sun to come up and contemplating the pontok or grass hut of Willem van Wijk, a minor extremity of the Administration in Windhoek. His horse drowsed and collected dew while Mondaugen squirmed on the seat, trying to control anger, confusion, petulance; and below the farthest verge of the Kalahari, that vast death, the tardy sun mocked him.
Originally a native of Leipzig, Mondaugen exhibited at least two aberrations peculiar to the region. One (minor), he had the Saxon habit of attaching diminutive endings to nouns, animate or inanimate,fake uggs boots, at apparent random. Two (major),fake uggs online store, he shared with his fellow-citizen Karl Baedeker a basic distrust of the South, however relative a region that might be. Imagine then the irony with which he viewed his present condition, and the horrid perversity he fancied had driven him first to Munich for advanced study, then (as if, like melancholy, this southsickness were progressive and incurable) finally to leave depression-time in Munich, journey into this other hemisphere, and enter mirror-time in the South-West Protectorate,fake uggs for sale.
Mondaugen was here as part of a program having to do with atmospheric radio disturbances: sferics for short. During the Great War one H. Barkhausen, listening in on telephone messages among the Allied forces, heard a series of falling tones, much like a slide whistle descending in pitch. Each of these "whistlers" (as Barkhausen named them) lasted only about a second and seemed to be in the low or audio-frequency range. As it turned out, the whistler was only the first of a family of sferics whose taxonomy was to include clicks, hooks, risers, nose-whistlers and one like a warbling of birds called the dawn chorus. No one knew exactly what caused any of them. Some said sunspots, others lightning bursts,Discount UGG Boots; but everyone agreed that in there someplace was the earth's magnetic field, so a plan evolved to keep a record of sferics received at different latitudes. Mondaugen, near the bottom of the list, drew South-West Africa, and was ordered to set up his equipment as close to 28 degrees S. as he conveniently could.
It had disturbed him at first, having to live in what had once been a German colony. Like most violent young men - and not a few stuffy old ones - he found the idea of defeat hateful. But he soon discovered that many Germans who'd been landowners before the war had simply continued on, allowed by the government of the Cape to keep their citizenship, property and native workers. A kind of expatriate social life bad indeed developed at the farm of one Foppl, in the northern part of the district, between the Karas range and the marches of the Kalahari, and within a day's journey of Mondaugen's recovery station. Boisterous were the parties, lively the music, jolly the girls that had filled Foppl's baroque plantation house nearly every night since Mondaugen's arrival, in a seemingly eternal Fasching. But now what well-being he'd found in this godforsaken region seemed about to evaporate.

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