Жанр книги: Научная Фантастика
Robert A Heinlein To Sail Beyond The Sunset

In my opinion many babies are simply bad-tempered, mean little devils who grow up to be bad-tempered, mean big devils. Look around you. The sweet innocence of children is a myth. Dean Swift had an appropriate solution for some of them in A Modest Proposal: But he should not Nave limited it to the Irish, as there are many scoundrels who are not Irish.

Now you may be so prejudiced and opinionated that you feel that my children are less than perfect - despite the overwhelming evidence that mine were born with halos and cherubs' wings. So I won't bore you with every time Nancy brought home straight A's on her report cards. Practically every time, that is. My kids are smarter than your kids. Prettier, too. Is that enough? All right, I'll drop the matter. My kids are wonderful to me, and your kids are wonderful to you, and let's leave it at that, and not bore each other.

I mentioned the Panic of 1907 when I told about Betty Lou's marriage to Nelson but at the time I had no idea that a panic was coming. Nor did Brian, or Nelson, or Betty Lou. But history does repeat itself, somewhat and in some ways, and something that happened in early 1907 reminded me of something that happened in 1893.

After the birth of Georgie on Betty Lou's wedding day, I stayed at home as usual, for a while, but as soon as I felt up to moving around, I left my brood with Betty Lou and went downtown. I planned to go by streetcar, was unsurprised when Nelson volunteered to drive me down in his Reo runabout. I accepted and bundled up warm; the Reo was rather too well ventilated; it had an open buggy somewhere in its ancestry.

My purpose was to move my savings account. I had placed it in the Missouri Savings Bank in 1899, when we married and settled in Kansas City, by a draft on the First State Bank of Butler (the booming metropolis of Thebes had no banks), where Father had helped me to open a savings account when we carne back from Chicago. By the time I was married, it had grown to more than a hundred dollars.

Footnote: if I had more than a hundred dollars in a savings account, why did I serve my family fried mush for their evening meal? Answer: do you think I am crazy? In 1906 in the American Middle West, a sure way for a wife spiritually to castrate her husband would be to suggest that he was incapable of keeping food on the table; I didn't need Dr Fraud to tell me that. Males live by pride. Kill their pride and they won't support wives and children. It would be some years before Brian and I would learn to be utterly open and easy with each other. Brian knew that I had a savings account but he never asked me how much I had in it, and I would serve fried mush or do any symbolic equivalent as often as needed before I would buy groceries with my own money. Savings were for a rainy day. We both knew this. If Brian fell ill, had to go to a hospital, I would use my savings as needed. We had no need to talk about it. Meanwhile Brian was the breadwinner; I did not intrude into his responsibility. Nor he into mine.

But what about Foundation moneys? Didn't that hurt his pride? Perhaps it did. It may be indicative to take a look into the future: in the long run every dime we received from ringing the cash register wound up with our children, as each got married. Brian never mentioned to me any such intention. In 1907 it would have been silly to do so.

By early 1907 my savings account had grown to over three hundred dollars, by nickels and pennies and tightest economies. Now that I was working at home and could no longer go to school downtown it seemed smart to me to move my account to a little neighbourhood bank near the southside post office substation. One of us four had to go to our post office box each day; whoever did it could make deposits for me. If ever I had to withdraw money, then that one could be I.

- Nelson parked his runabout on Grand Avenue and we walked around to 920 Walnut. I took my passbook to a teller - did not have to wait; the bank was not crowded - and told the teller that I wanted to withdraw my account.

I was referred to an officer of the bank, over behind the railing, a Mr Smaterine. Nelson put down the newspaper he had been glancing at, stood up. ‘Difficulty? '

‘I don't know. They don't seem to want to let me have my money. Will you come with me? '

‘Sure thing. '

Mr Smaterine greeted me politely, but raised his brows at Nelson. I introduced them. ‘This is Mr Nelson Johnson, Mr Smaterine. He is my husband's business partner. '

‘How do you do, Mr Johnson. Please sit down. Mrs Smith, our Mr Wimple tells me that you need to see me about something. '

‘I suppose I do. I attempted to withdraw my account. Ht told me that I must see you. '

Mr Smaterine gave a smile that displayed his false teeth. ‘We are always sorry to lose an old friend, Mrs Smith. Has our service been unsatisfactory? '

‘Not at all, sir. But I wish to move my account to a bank closer to my home. It is not too convenient to come all this way downtown, especially in this cold weather. '

He picked up my passbook, glanced at the address in the front, then at the current amount further on. ‘May I ask where you propose to transfer your account, Mrs Smith? '

I was about to tell him, when I caught Nelson's eye. He didn't actually shake his head. .. but I've known him a long time. ‘Why do you ask that, sir? '

‘It is part of a banker's professional duty to protect his customers. If you wish to move your account - fine! But I want to see you go to an equally reliable bank. '

My wild animal instincts were aroused. ‘Mr Smaterine, I have discussed this in -detail with my husband' - I had not - and I do not need to seek advice elsewhere. '

He made a tent of his fingers. ‘Very well. As you know, the bank can require three weeks notice on savings accounts. '

‘But, Mr Smaterine, you yourself were the officer I dealt with when I opened my account here. You told me that that fine print was just a formality, required by the state banking act, but that you personally assured me that any time I wanted my money, I could have it. '

‘And so you can. Let's change that three weeks to three days. Just go home and write us a written notice of intent, and three business days later you can close your account'

Nelson stood up, put his hands flat on Mr Smaterine's desk. ‘Now just one moment, ' he drawled loudly, ‘did you or did you not tell Mrs Smith that she could have her money any rime she wanted it? '

‘Sit down, Mr Johnson. And lower your voice. After all, you are not a customer here. You don't belong here. '

Nelson did not sit down, did not lower his voice. ‘Just answer yes or no. '

‘I could have you evicted. '