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

I'm wondering whether Pixel will come back at all, so disastrous was his last visit.

I tried an experiment today. I called out, ‘Telephone! ' just as I had heard Dr Ridpath do. Sure enough, a hologram face appeared. .. of a police matron.

‘Why are you asking for a telephone? '

‘Why not? '

‘You don't have telephone privileges. '

‘Who says so? If that is true, shouldn't someone have told me? Look, I'll bet you fifty octets that you're right and I'm wrong. ',

‘Huh? That's what I said. '

‘So prove it. I won't pay until you prove it'

She looked puzzled and blinked out. We shall see.

Mr Bronson was at church on Sunday. After the services, at the huddle at the front entrance where church members say nice things to the minister about his sermon (and Dr Draper did preach a fine sermon if one simply suspended critical faculty and treated it as art) - at the door I spoke to him.

‘Good morning, Mr Bronson. '

‘Good morning, Mrs Smith. Miss Nancy. Fine weather for March, is it not? '

I agreed that ii was, and introduced him to the others of my tribe who were present, Carol, Brian junior, and George. Marie, Woodrow, Richard, and Ethel were at home with their grandfather - I do not think Father ever entered a church after he left Thebes other than to get some friend or relative married or buried. Marie and Woodrow had been at Sunday School but, were, in my opinion, too young for church.

We chatted inanities for a few moments, then he bowed and turned away and so did I. Neither of us showed in any fashion that the meeting had any significance to either of us. His need for me burned with a fierce flame, as did mine for him and we both knew it and neither acknowledged it

Day after day we conducted our love affair wordlessly, never touching, not even a lover's glance, right under my father's eyes. Father told me later that he had had his suspicions - ‘smelled a rat' - at one point, but that both Mr Bronson and I had behaved with such propriety that Father had had no excuse to clamp down on us. ‘After all, my darling, I can't condemn a man for wanting you as long as he behaves himself - we both know what you are - and I can't scold you for being what you are - you can't help it - as long as you behave like a lady. Truth is, I was proud of both of you, for behaving with such civilised restraint. It's not easy, I know. '

Through playing chess with my father and, shortly, with Woodrow as well, Mr Bronson managed to see me, en passant, almost every day. He volunteered as assistant Scoutmaster for the troop at our church. .. then drove Brian Junior and George home after Scout meeting the next Friday night - which resulted in a date with Brian junior for the following afternoon to teach him to drive. (Mr Bronson owned a luxury model Ford automobile, a landaulet, always shining and beautiful. )

The following Saturday he took my five older children on a picnic; they were as charmed by him as I was. Carol confided to me afterwards: ‘Mama, if I ever get married, Mr Bronson is just the sort of man I want to marry. '

I did not tell her that I felt the same way.

The Saturday after that one Mr Bronson took Woodrow downtown to a Hippodrome Theatre matinee to see the magician Thurston the Great (I would have been delighted to have been invited along; stage magic fascinates me. But I didn't dare even hint with Father watching me. ) When Mr Bronson returned the child, asleep in his arms, I was able to invite him inside as Father was with me, lending his sanction to the meeting. Never once during that strange romance did Mr Bronson enter our house without Father being there and then publicly present.

Once when Mr Bronson fetched Brian junior back from a driving lesson, I invited him in for tea. He enquired about Father. Learning that Father was not home, Mr Bronson discovered that he was already late for an appointment. Men are more timid than women. .. at least in my experience.

Brian arrived home on Sunday 1 April, and on the same day Father left on a short visit to St Louis - to see my mother I assume, but Father never discussed his reasons. I could have wished that Father had stayed at home, so that Brian and I could have taken a little journey to nowhere, while Father guarded the tepee and Nancy did the cooking.

But I said nothing about this to anyone, as the children were as anxious to see their father and visit with him as I was to get him alone and take him to bed. Besides. .. Well, we no longer had an automobile. Before leaving for Plattsburg this time Brian had sold El Reo Grande.

‘Mo, ' he had said, last year, leaving in April, it made sense to drive to Plattsburg; I got lots of use out of the Reo there. But only a fool would attempt to drive from Kansas City to upstate New York in February. Last year in April I had to be pulled out of the mud three times; had it been February I simply would not have made it.

‘Besides, ' Briney had added, with his best Teddy Roosevelt grin, I'm going to buy us a ten-passenger car. Or eleven. Shall we try for eleven? '

We tried for eleven but failed to ring the cash register that time. Briney went off to Plattsburg by train, with a promise to me that when he got back, ' he intended to buy the biggest passenger car available - a seven-passenger, if that was the biggest - and what did I think of a closed car this time? A Lexington seven-passenger sedan, for example? Or a Marmon? Or a Pierce-Arrow? Think about it, dear one.

I gave it little thought as I knew that, when the time carne, Brian would make his own decision. But I was glad to know that we were going to have a bigger motor car. A five passenger car is a bit cramped for a family of ten. (Or eleven, when I managed to catch. )

So, when Brian got home on 1 April 1917, we stayed home and did our lovemaking in bed. After all, it isn't necessary to do it in the grass.