Oh no! Hans bought a thermometer! Pretty much just a page after where I'd last left off. Not much secret what the rest of the book will be about then.
Hans felt like he was come down with a touch of a cold. It's like he wants to dismiss it, but he wants sympathy too, from all these people who are by far more severely ill than he. Maybe if he had a fever, he could justifiably say he was sick. But he buys a thermometer! The fool! The last ritual, which he'd resisted. He'd mocked the residents for taking their temperature 5 times a day. This resistance was his last thread to the normal life of the flatlanders below.
He has a body temperature of 99.7. And an eventual examination tells us... he's sick!
He is sentenced to 3 weeks of bed rest.
I must say, it's a neat trick of Mann's treating time within the narrative in a manner that reinforces the discourses on the nature of time, stretching and compressing...